I think writing good new plays is one of the hardest things you can do in the theatre. So it’s a treat to get to see a meaty brand new one by a good writer (previous Fringe First winner Jonathan Lichtenstein) at this year’s Fringe. There’s fewer of them about than you might think.
Well, there’s the germ of a really good play here. Darkness has some terrific points to make about the corrosive and destructive effect of fundamentalism. We tend to associate it with foreign countries (most often Muslim ones) so it’s a stroke of genius to bring this a lot closer to home and set it among a family of Welsh Christian head-bangers.
Into this combustible mix comes the outsider, Yann the Muslim from Croatia. A little more research is needed here – Yann is a French name, not Croatian, and the accent is nowhere near. But still, the concept is original and startling.
It’s therefore a shame that this character is not developed fully. Again, perhaps some research would help. It’s disappointing that the catalyst for change is not Yann but the long-lost brother Ollie who arrives unexpectedly a short while later. Two outsiders are superfluous and a bit confusing.
There are some cracking scenes, however, and with a bit of reworking and, oh yes did I mention research, this could become a real hit.