Being immediately informed by the programme that ‘nobody will be harmed during this event,’ didn’t exactly fill me with confidence as Andrew Sherlock’s play (directed by Mark Smith), The Judgement of Hakim, began. The plot is itself elusive. Hakim, played fantastically by Nick Birkinshaw, is seeking a truth. A truth which although we’ve no clue about, we are slowly made to believe we have some involvement in. Ashley Manning reviews…
As the audience squirmed at the mere thought of having to reveal a secret about themselves, they got lost in the detective trail of Hakim’s interrogation. The play set out to address often uncomfortable but concerning topics such as torture, truth, deception and judgement.
The setting was minimalist and several actors dressed in black stood silently around the stage and sat within the audience giving a sort of George Orwell’s, ‘1984’ feel to proceedings. The scenery is simplistic, contrasting with a dialogue which is rich in ideas and meticulously so. Although it is essentially a monologue, we feel we are a part of an ongoing conversation, or interrogation, because we are cornered into thinking. There were often moments of dark humour followed immediately by ideas that led the audience to question themselves and the ideals they’ve been conditioned with.
The play is interactive, which admittedly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, it lends itself into keeping the entire audience on edge and is highly successful in keeping everyone engaged.
Birkinshaw gave a brilliant and consistent performance and people left the auditorium pondering the concept of truth and deception, and how far we could recognise the existence of either of them.
A thought provoking play which deals with issues in a dynamic manner, The judgement of Hakim is definitely work checking out if you’re prepared to vacate your comfort zone and question yourself.
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