Reviewer: David Doyle
2Magpies have never been afraid to create work that challenges its audience. In 2015 in the café at Summerhall they performed The Litvinenko Project, a striking look at the death of Alexander Litvinenko, and this year they’ve returned to Summerhall with a new show exploring Guantanamo Bay.
In the basement of the building, we’re invited on holiday to the new Guantanamo Bay resort. What follows is a package holiday from hell hosted by two unsettling reps, played wonderfully by Tom Barnes and Eve Parmiter, who also devised the show. It’s a clever conceit that allows for an insightful look at a place that has become so divisive in world politics.
Amid the orange deckchairs in which the audience sit, a series of events inspired by package holidays play out, all of which have an added twist to explore an element of the practices and history of the Guantanamo Bay site. While some of these, including a look at torture tactics at the prison such as waterboarding and stress positions work particularly well, there are others that feel somewhat predictable including a disco which turns into a more nightmarish look at the psychological use of music during so-called enhanced interrogation.
Much like their previous work, the company manages to make a challenging subject matter accessible and force you to examine it in new ways. The innovative playful approach of the piece works incredibly well in breaking down barriers around talking about the issues in the piece, which might otherwise feel too big to grasp. However, the magnitude of those issues is something that the production doesn’t quite succeed in exploring, leaving a feeling of an unfinished piece.
Runs until August 27th