Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy, Vault Festival | Review

Friday 2 March 2018

Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy
The Vaults
Reviewed on Thursday 1st March 2018 by Nicola Louise 

I’ve never really been a fan of shows with a single set (or no set in this case) and two people. It always seemed a bit boring (not that it was the actors fault, the writing was just not up to scratch), so when I decided to attend Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy I was little apprehensive.

Currently being shown as part of The Vault Festival at Waterloo, the tunnels provide the perfect setting for what is meant to be a holding cell controlled by Isis- as you walk in and take your seat there’s already something happening. A solider is tied to a pole in the middle of the stage with a bag over his head, he’s struggling and the action begins.

Bismillah, written by Matthew Grenhough -who also plays the prisoner of Isis- is a perfect mix of comedy and true horror. The IS solider played by Elliot Liburd arrives with food and water and the show starts; conversation flows between the two soldiers and they find themselves bonding over shifts at Wetherspoons and a £4.39 meal deal at the airport.

It soon becomes clear however, that Liburd’s character has some issues with himself. As he starts to lose his temper, you can see the confidence in Grenhough’s character leave his body as he suddenly becomes a terrified little boy.

Both actors performed Grenhough's thought-provoking script well, asking the questions: How well do you really know somebody? How different are we to them? Just because the news reports one thing does it make it true?

Never before have I been gripped so much in 75 minutes watching a conversation between two people than I have seeing this show. As this show was first staged in 2015 a few things are a little out dated but still work. Even the over use of pop culture but that’s what makes this show what it is.

Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy is currently showing at the Vault Festival until the 4th March 2018. Get your tickets quick.