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The Fever Chart

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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The Fever Chart, which hits London following a national tour, is a triptych of 'visions' about conflicts in the Middle East – two are concerned with Israel/Palestine, the third with Iraq.

Written by American Naomi Wallace, they're by no means easily digestible accounts, peppered as they are with metaphors and poetic aphorisms. Originally written as three separate pieces, this Pilot Theatre production places them under a single umbrella with mixed results.

The first and final playlets utilise animals as metaphors for the oppressed. In the opening piece, titled A State of Innocence, an Israeli soldier-turned-zoo keeper (Daniel Rabin) is accused by a Palestinian woman (Lisa Caruccio Came) of allowing a rare breed of turtle to get crushed by tanks. In the closing monologue, also featuring Rabin, a pigeon fancier describes the devastating effect of the 1991 UN sanctions in Iraq.

The central piece (Between this Breath and You) is the most dramatically well-structured of the three, and features an elderly Palestinian man (Sidney Kean) who claims a bond with an Israeli nurse for reasons which at first seem creepy but soon grow moving and mystical.

There is a lack of cohesion between the three works, and I'm not convinced the plays are ordered correctly - establishing a clearer sense of context early on would help matters enormously.

This is not the most educational of evenings, largely because its message remains so shrouded by innuendo. But the cast do fine work with varied and often enigmatic roles, and directors Katie Posner and Marcus Romer keep the staging mercifully simple.


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