Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy comes to Pleasance Theatre

I didn’t come over to hurt people, but to help. I don’t have some evil plan, I’m not that smart. I couldn’t have even found Iraq on a map before I joined the Army!

Fresh from a sell-out run at this year’s VAULT Festival,where it was awarded a Highly Commended accolade, Wound Up Theatre bring their hilarious play Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy to Pleasance London Tuesday 24 April – Sunday 13 May 2018 to launch the theatre’s brand new 80-seat Downstairs. This comical,heart-breaking and compassionate play contributes to the vital discussion around the experiences of disenfranchised young people in modern Britain.

From 2012-2016, 800 Britons travelled to Syria to fight for or support ISIS and a further 600 caught trying to enter; this thought-provoking production explores feelings of vulnerability, otherness, alienation and expert grooming techniques that remain so relevant today. A report published by the United Nations in 2014 disclosed that youth are “particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, social instability, and conflicts” and in this post 9/11, digitally-savvy world, radicalisation is a hugely complex phenomenon, now more so than ever.

Dean joined the Army, Danny joined the Islamic State. One’s from Leeds, the other from London. Brought together in a basement in Northern Iraq, they reminisce about their torment working in Wetherspoon, share disgust over an airport meal deal costing £4.89, and circle around an awful truth –that both of them just want to go home.

Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy has been developed usingin-depth research on contemporary academic views on terrorism. Having premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where itwas shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, this powerful play tells of the encounter between a young British prisoner of war from the North and a London born young British Muslim boy who has defected to join the Islamic States.

This newly revised 2018 production,directed by Jonny Kelly (The Passing of the Third Floor Back,Finborough Theatre; Hyem,Theatre 503) sees award-winning writer and performer Matthew Greenhough (#Vile: The Untimely Demise of a Manufactured Pop Star, Edinburgh Fringe 2017; Delusions of Adequacy) star alongside Elliot Liburd (Fourth Monkey’s 3 Winters, Julius Caesar andThe White Devil).

Matthew Greenhough comments, Bismillah! celebrates and explores some of the wonderful universalities of the human experience, which is a timeless message. However, in a time of rising tensions and extremism, both religious and political, we believe the ideas explored in the play are now more vital than ever. Over the last three years the production has been born of the tireless efforts ofamazing friends and creatives who have developed the work, taking it from a DIY fifty-five minute fringe show which stormed Edinburgh, to a full length professional production now launching a brand newoff-west space at London’s esteemed Pleasance Theatre. We’re incredibly proud of what the show has already achieved and we could not be more excited forBismillah!’s future at The Pleasance and beyond.



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