The Believers Are But Brothers by Javaad Alipoor, Bush Theatre, 3 February 2018

“Please leave your mobile phones on and be sure to set the volume to loud”…

…is not an entreaty you’ll often hear in the theatre just before the start of the show, but for this show it makes a great deal of sense. It makes even more sense to join the Whatsapp group set up for the piece – not a requirement but an experience-enhancing move for sure.

The scene as we entered the theatre

Janie and I both obliged, but while I found all the social media discussion and exposition fascinating, Janie got lost in the techiness of it all and said the piece left her cold…

…which is a shame.

Because the story was, in my view, well written and well told by writer/performer Javaad Alipoor. He shows, through the stories of three disaffected young men, how people can be radicalised through social media, both to Islamic extremism and also to alt-right type fanatical politics.

Janie said she found the whole idea of it rather depressing. It didn’t make me feel that way. Concerned, yes, but not depressed. Disaffected youngsters have always been susceptible to extremism – social media is just the modern way of grooming and recruiting them.

I’m more concerned with the ways social media seem to be polarising opinion and dragging communities apart from each other, rather than fulfilling their potential role as universal media that can bring people closer together.

But that’s another story…and if Javaad Alipoor wants to write a play about that, I’d be up for seeing more of his work…

…but Janie might not be so keen to go with me.

Here is a link to the Bush resource on this piece/production.

Mixed reviews from me and Janie – similarly mixed reviews from the critics – click here for a search term that finds them.

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