Reviewer: David Doyle
Javaad Alipoor set out to make a piece about ISIS brides but that’s not the show he ultimately made. Instead, following his failure to engage with them on social media, he made a broader piece about the internet and extremism in its many forms. From the origins of Islamic extremism to the emergence of the alt-right, Alipoor weaves through the darker fringes of the internet to create a piece that is thought-provoking if occasionally too fragmented.
The play is striking in its desire to play with form. As well as more traditional elements of performance, much of the piece also takes place over WhatsApp. It’s a decision which doesn’t work all the time but is incredibly effective when it does, offering the audience an insight into the fast-paced worlds that Alipoor explores, and in some of the shows more engaging moments, offering the audience a chance to contribute to the show, something that they might not otherwise feel comfortable to do.
It’s this ability to play with form that elevates The Believers Are But Brothers from other shows that deal with such issues. It’s incredibly difficult to create a piece about the internet that feels like the thing itself and Alipoor has succeeded in doing just that. It is a technically savvy show which manages to probe and audience’s thoughts on modern life in a new and exciting way.
However, much like the internet itself, the piece suffers from fragmentation with our focus being pulled in several directions. This cacophony of thoughts and ideas disrupts the show’s drive as it reaches its end. With much to admire throughout, the piece is an engaging and thought-provoking experience on extremism in its many forms.
Runs until 26 August 2017 | Image: The Other Richard