DINNER WITH SADDAM – Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

It’s the least likely setting imaginable for a farce, even a black one. We are in Baghdad, in the Alawai family’s kitchen and dining-room on the 19th of March, 2003: the hours before the American Shock and Awe bombardment. But for a while, we might as well be in any domestic sitcom. The set (by Tim Shortall) is recognizably modern-suburban with just an Arab twist in the windows, which helps; the opening scene is almost Life with the Lyons, as the exasperated wife Samira (Shobu Kapoor) stumps in with the shopping after a frustrating search for basics, and berates her idle husband Ahmed (Sanjeev Bhaskar) who has done nothing about digging the well for when the water gets cut off. Student daughter Rana (Rebecca Grant, the straightest of the characters) quarrels with her father about his plan to marry her to her awful wealthy cousin Jammal. A geeky comedy plumber (Ilan Goodman) has sneaked in, who is actually Rana’s disguised real boyfriend.