fri 03/02/2023

Scorched, Old Vic Tunnels | reviews, news & interviews

Scorched, Old Vic Tunnels

Scorched, Old Vic Tunnels

Resonant indictment of war from the leading French-language playwright

Sibling rivals: Sirine Saba and Richard Simons in 'Scorched'Matt Humphrey

Is it an example of our cultural insularity that no one I know has ever heard of Wajdi Mouawad? Born in Lebanon, he’s the most performed contemporary French-language playwright and his 2003 masterpiece, Scorched, has been staged all over the world. You’d think that the National Theatre would be begging to produce it, but no, that honour has fallen to Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic. Not for the first time, a state-funded venue has been trumped by a commercial one. In a bold production by Dialogue theatre company, which opened last night at the Old Vic Tunnels, a performance space under Waterloo station, Mouawad emerges as a highly intelligent and powerful chronicler of war.

Is it an example of our cultural insularity that no one I know has ever heard of Wajdi Mouawad? Born in Lebanon, he’s the most performed contemporary French-language playwright and his 2003 masterpiece, Scorched, has been staged all over the world. You’d think that the National Theatre would be begging to produce it, but no, that honour has fallen to Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic. Not for the first time, a state-funded venue has been trumped by a commercial one. In a bold production by Dialogue theatre company, which opened last night at the Old Vic Tunnels, a performance space under Waterloo station, Mouawad emerges as a highly intelligent and powerful chronicler of war.

Evocative chanting creates a sense of unhappy distant lands, while at one memorable moment a water jet suggests machine-gun fire

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