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Theatre Review: Trojan Horse ****

Michael Cox reviews an essential production with standout performances.

It’s next to impossible to not feel enraged by the events depicted by Trojan Horse. The production, by LUNG and Leeds Playhouse, is a verbatim piece that explores the recent events following investigations of feared Islamic terrorism being nurtured within Birmingham schools.

The ‘Trojan Horse’ referred to here is a letter that was supposedly found outlining how Muslims could indoctrinate schools into radical thoughts. How real is this letter? Is there any base to the worries that white teachers in the district have? And what about school personnel, some of whom had been praised for positive results in the past—can they be trusted?

Matt Woodhead’s production is a fireball—starting strong and burning bright for its entire run. In the course of the play, his cast of five introduce us to many people: teachers, students, politicians and others involved in the events. We get to know and empathise with many of these individuals, and as the events unfold and grow larger and more outrageous, the sense of injustice inflicted on good people grows.

As solid as Woodhead’s production is, the true standout is the five-strong ensemble who, through slight changes in demeanour and dress, take on a large company of characters. Each actor has one principle role that allows them to stand out and make impassioned statements—statements not just about their plight but about the state of Britain’s educational system and the demeaning agenda that those in power have, facts be damned.

Trojan Horse is essential theatre, not just for its brilliant performances but for standing tall in its political convictions. It is a production that is not only great but should be seen by large audiences—particularly those in political power.

Trojan Horse is at Summerhall at 3.15 until August 26th.

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