Persae (Iron Belly, Edinburgh)

From the first seconds of electrifying video-sequences that rocketed us into this production, Persae pulled no punches. Charged with passionate political vitriol and crackling with darkest irony, Persae was a high energy production whose large cast turned out a slick and persuasive performance.

PersaeA combination of Grecian antiquity and fresh-from-the-front-pages modernity, Persae explored the aftermath of the war in Iraq through Aeschylus’ ancient play. Sharp-suited spin doctors play puppeteers to the drama while a chorus of smiling newscasters report blandly back home. Refusing such concealment is ‘Mother of the Nation’ Atossa (for which read Barbara Bush) whose foreboding dreams are followed by the story of ironically-named soldier, Hero, and a particularly violent exercise in ‘liberation’. Twisting the knife further, the scene moves to fellow Coalition members, Australia, where the dust of a terrorist attack is settling, and the murdered president’s daughter makes a powerful lament amongst the rubble.

For both its execution and its topicality, Persae attracted a great deal of positive critical attention from major publications The Stage, Three Weeks, The Scotsman and The Independent who referred to the play as “…The darkest and most incendiary politics on the fringe.” Theatre may be an ancient medium, but Persae proved that in the Information Age its message still pierces the clamour with deadly accuracy.

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