Adelaide Fringe. Knaive Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. 6 Mar 2019
The audience files into the theatre to encounter a very English young man onstage very hospitably offering cups of tea to one and all. How nice. Yes, please. No to biscuits, but thanks.
Are we at the right Fringe show? Bin Laden?
The actor, Sam Redway, is a peaches-and-cream English lad out of RADA.
But, having finished passing out mugs of steaming tea, he starts interviewing the audience, asking people how they like their governments and their politicians. He removes his shoes and alerts the audience to his flip chart and his intention to teach it how to succeed and take control in life and, by the way, his name is now Abu.
For the next hour, this handsome, tousle-haired Englishman delivers an impassioned monologue about Islamic hopes and dreams, failures and philosophies, and evolving political affrays. As Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, he wields an automatic weapon and preaches a passion for the rightness of his cause. He summons from the audience, a woman who is to be his wife and a man who is to be Azam, his spiritual and strategic counsel. In this performance, he chances upon the TheAdelaideShow podcaster, Steve Davis, and adorns him in Islamic head attire for the role. Davis is a pro and slips into character with panache.
Redway's’s voice is superb. His focus of performance is impressive. He wields a small suitcase from which costume changes emerge - from suit and tie to white smock. He urges his audience to think about Islamic hopes and values. Bin Laden was young. He was idealistic and driven. He suffered failures. He died young.
Of course, waving a book on the subject and flipping the pages of his success plan, he tends to the didactic. But it is an interesting idea he moots, looking at the terrorist to end them all from within. And, the cup of tea was lovely.
When: 6 to 17 Mar
Where: Holden Street Theatres