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THE DREADED Fringe flu struck main actor, in this three parter. So the co-director stepped in at the last minute. Luckily, his role was as an interrogator so the presence of a script didn’t look out of place.

Set in an unnamed Middle Eastern state, we see Youssef (writer Tim Marriott) a university lecturer taken by Western authorities. These authorities proceed to interrogate him using threats against his wife and child to gain the information they need about a radical preacher who spreads a message of peace and threatens to bring political uprising. With violence and conflict tearing the state apart and Youssef’s family now under-threat he begins to co-operate with the authorities, yet all is not as it seems.

This was a brooding, intense piece of theatre and both the suspect, Tim Marriott and the supervisor Stephanie Rossi produced towering performances. You could not take your eyes off them and nor would they let you.

The arguments by the authorities are persuasive if only by their matter of fact nature whereas Yousseff, a man of undoubted integrity has his beliefs tempted to the nth degree. The punishments inflicted upon him are also intense.

A sparse set highlighted with visuals, you really feel you are within the confines of a prison cell.

Needless to say this runs across a certain biblical theme but at the same time, there is a killer line regarding “two books” as well as a theme of futility as well as betrayal.

This is not an easy piece of theatre but it is a challenging and worthwhile experience.

The Edinburgh Reporter spoke to Tim Marriott about the two Fringe shows he is involved with (and yes he was in ‘Allo ‘Allo!) – the other is Mengele at the same venue.

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