REVIEW: FACELESS (Park Theatre) ★★★★
Park Theatre hosts the European premiere of Faceless by Chicago-based playwright Selina Fillinger. The production is directed and designed by Prav MJ who decided to take the show to a full production following a staged reading at Park Theatre in 2017.
Inspired by the real life court case of American teenager Shannon Conley who was jailed after attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS, Faceless highlights the internet’s power to influence when in the wrong hands.
The play tells the tale of Susie, a teenager from Chicago who engages with a member of ISIS online and is convinced to convert to Islam on Twitter. When her plan is discovered, she is arrested and tried as an enemy of the State. Her defence case is taken on by a Jewish lawyer and the prosecution is led by Claire, a Harvard law graduate who also happens to be a practising Muslim.
Alongside Susie (Fiona Gent) and Claire (Paige Round) on stage are lawyers Mark (Sam Thorpe-Spinks) and Scott (Matt Mella), both trying to manipulate the case to their advantage, and Susie’s father, Alan (Fearon McElroy), trying to understand what has happened to his beloved daughter. Paige Round delivers a powerful performance as the feisty Claire, sticking up for herself and her faith before her colleagues and the world.
What follows is a thought provoking and compelling courtroom drama that keeps the audience guessing. Is Susie a naïve young woman manipulated by a faceless individual she has met online or is she truly an enemy of the State who should be sent to prison for 20 years?
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Pete Le May