DramaNorth WestReview

Last Resort – The Lowry, Salford

Writer/Director: Tom Barnes and Eve Parmiter

Reviewer: Harriet Mallion

Last Resort welcomes weary travellers to a tropical paradise, complete with orange deckchairs, private beaches and complimentary Cuba Libres. Just make sure you don’t look too closely at the scars on this landscape, and don’t worry yourself about “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Last Resort guides the audience through a multisensory experience that makes them re-evaluate their perception of their surroundings and their understanding and acceptance of human rights. This powerful performance from 2Magpies Theatre plays with the senses, mimicking the calming laid-back atmosphere of a holiday resort while cleverly exposing the brutal reality of Guantanamo Bay.

Most of the performance is presented as a guided tour, the performers use this technique well, incorporating questioning, guided meditation and sensory prompts to heighten the audience’s experience, enabling them to see the brutality behind closed doors. Some scenes are more striking than others, but this performance is centred around personal immersion into the experience and would no doubt have a different impact for each individual.

Tom Barnes and Eve Parmiter work tirelessly and intuitively to pull a veil of tranquillity over the horrors of Guantanamo Bay. But the truth and the tragedy that such a place exists becomes too real and peeks through to expose the tropical daydream. Both artists have impressive credentials in international relations and human rights, their knowledge and expertise is harnessed throughout the performance. Their respect for the subject matter is paramount, and humour helps to carefully balance the necessity of exposing the horrific treatment of detainees.

Last Resort has been commissioned as part of Week 53, a ten day festival that encourages creativity and curiosity. The Dock at The Lowry is the perfect location to both expose and conceal the legacy of secret spaces and the US Government’s justification of enhanced interrogation techniques. Question your perception of what is right.

Runs until 7 May 2016

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One Comment

  1. I thought art was supposed to be about truth? There is nothing beautiful or creative or truthful about a fantasy that denigrates honest, loyal and patriotic soldiers doing their duty for their country.

    The U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is the finest such facility on earth. The International Committee of the Red Cross physicians I worked there with told me, “No one does [detention operations] better than the U.S.” But since their role is confidential, this side of Gitmo is never revealed.

    I’m wondering if the “exhibit” demonstrates the daily abuse endured by our fine U.S. Army Military Police men and women who take care of unlawful combatant Islamists at Gitmo? Is there mention or smells from the urine, feces and other bodily fluids routinely sprayed onto the guards by the detainees? Is there a demonstration of the sucker punches detainees throw at guards? How about the threats of harm to towards the guards from the detainees, to both the guard and their families and loved ones?

    There are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth. Keep searching.

    Montgomery J. Granger, Major, U.S. Army, Retired.
    Former ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
    Author: Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior

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