At the same time as Robin Soans’ latest docu-drama, Talking to Terrorists for Out of Joint, arrives at the Royal Court (See News, 23 Mar 2005), theatregoers will also be able to catch the actor-turned-playwright’s earlier verbatim play, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, at north London’s Tricycle Theatre, where it’s revived from 6 to 30 July 2005.

Premiered at the Gate in June 2004, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is based on interviews Soans conducted in September 2003 when he travelled to Israel and the Occupied Territories with the British-Lebanese director Rima Brihi and British-Jewish director Tim Roseman to talk to people caught up in the current intifada. The interviewees talked as they were cooking.

While sharing their recipes, 42 ordinary Israelis and Palestinians - Christians, Jews and Muslims - reveal how they manage to live in a land of walls, checkpoints and suicide bombings. Kusa mahshi u waraq (stuffed courgette and stuffed vine leaves) jostles with gefilte fish; Thai stir fry with barbequed goat's testicles; fattoush (stale bread salad) and kibbeh (pounded wheat and lamb) with Greek salad.

In Talking to Terrorists, currently touring ahead of its London season, Soans used a similar technique in interviewing terrorists – as well as peacemakers, warriors, hostages, politicians and psychiatrists - in an attempt to understand what drives ordinary people to take such extreme actions. It runs at the Royal Court from 4 to 30 July 2005 (previews from 30 June).


Back at the Tricycle, the revival of The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is just one of three chances in the theatre’s summer season to see previous hits. Ahead of the Soans play, Kathy Burke’s 50th anniversary Oxford Stage Company production of Brendan Behan’s Irish prison drama The Quare Fellow, featuring a 17-strong ensemble, returns to the theatre that housed it last spring as part of a UK tour (See News, 29 Dec 2003). It will now have a limited six-week season from 25 May 2005 to 2 July 2004 (See News, 1 Mar 2005).

At the end of the summer, from 31 August to 17 September 2005, award-winning American mind-reader Marc Salem returns to the UK with his show Mind Games. A hit at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the show received its London premiere in October 2001 in a three-week season at the Hampstead Theatre. In spring 2002, it ran for eight weeks at the West End’s New Ambassadors Theatre, and then returned to the UK last summer playing a limited three-week season at the Tricycle (See News 2 Jun 2004). A behavioural psychologist as well as an entertainer, Salem has used his academic training and understanding of non-verbal communication as a consultant for the FBI, the New York police and several US corporations.

Currently at the Tricycle, the latest in the theatre’s successful series of tribunal plays Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Inquiry - which dramatises proceedings from the real-life enquiry into the events in Londonderry in 1972 when 13 civil rights activists were killed by British soldiers - continues until 7 May 2005, after which comedian Robert Newman will play a limited engagement from 9 to 21 May 2005.

- by Hannah Kennedy & Terri Paddock