Thursday, November 03, 2011

13 @ Olivier Theatre

Mike Bartlett's "13" is a glorious mess of a play with immense ambition, tons of passion and a big muddle of complicated ideas. Bit like the inside of my head sometimes.

The plot is simple :-

* There's an all-too-believable war coming between Iran and a "US-led coalition"
* A number of people in London are suffering from a shared dream of monsters and they are sleep-deprived and going slightly round the twist.
* A charismatic preacher arrives in a London park, stands on an upturned plastic bucket and starts to talk philosophy to passers-by. An anti-war protest crystallises around him.

The ideas involved are far from simple - religion, war, death, politics, the nature of protest, social media, how crappy my generation is and how great his is ...

Bartlett continues his habit from "Earthquakes in London" of having more than one subplot play out on stage at the same time, with the actors from one subplot passing through the other like ghosts and having radically different conversations over the top of each other. Sounds complicated, but somehow it works - although you don't get much in the way of silence and stillness.

I loved this play - loved the ambition, loved the passion, loved the big muddle of complicated ideas.

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