The Nights by Henry Naylor

The show is moving, emotional, tear-inducing and gripping from start to finish. Go see it.

The Nights by Henry Naylor

This play is an emotional piece of theatre. It is dripping in history and heart-wrenching biased perspective. It explores the emotional and dark toll of the military as well as the shady morality of the press covering these issues. It tells the tale from two sides, from different angles and different experiences. The piece twists and turns in unexpected ways, taking their audience along for a bumpy and intense ride.

The Nights is the fifth show as part of Naylor’s Arabian Nightmares series following on from The Collector, Echoes, Angel and Borders. All of the shows explore the world after 9-11 and the strain on global relations. It is a stand-alone show, but can also seen as following on from others in the series.

It’s psychological and incredibly moving artistry. The actors are emotively persuasive, impassioned and fiercely believable in their character roles. Both characters are unlikeable people, their viewpoints askew and their politics unsympathetic to humanity, to the east and to anyone living outside their own country. They are uneasy, hard for the audience to relate to and cold-hearted. This puts political distance between the characters and the fringe audience but it also means the audience has little empathy for their actions.

At the same time, the audience feels the relationship between the characters, feels their emotions and their fiery personas and is gripped when following the story. We watch their motives, their twisted reasonings, their ill-fated beliefs. The characters become evil, including both the journalist writing for a right-wing tabloid newspaper and the military man based in Iraq, who descended into unlawful and horrific means of abuse and inhumane actions and punishments against those he was holding prisoner.

The performance rips into deep political debates around the Iraq war, its historical and traumatising memory affecting the imprisoned inmates who became casualties in horrific inhumane violence, wider society and the military forces on a personal level. Shamima Begum’s exile from the UK is discussed, reflecting the sections of the British press and the parts of the public that believed she should not be allowed back and that she should be denied legal aid. Corporal and capital punishment is also discussed.

It's strange to watch two characters in a play argue so passionately for something that I so passionately disagree with. The show will divide myself and the audiences watching into disagreement with them. Yet in a twisted way it shows how people reach these political views and become so full of racist, xenophobic and inwards looking feelings within the UK and USA. It shows how we now live in a country where people voted for Brexit, where people are anti-immigrant and how wrong these prejudiced and hate-filled views are.

The play itself is gripping, dark and psychological in many ways. As a two-man show, it uses these actors in clever ways, to tell the story using effective techniques and allows the audiences to get up close to these characters and their own experiences. The actors portraying these shady characters are Caitlin Thornburn who is currently appearing in Good Omens, and Henry Naylor, actor and playwright who has won and been nominated for 39 international awards.

The show is moving, emotional, tear-inducing and gripping from start to finish. Go see it.

Header Image Credit: Rosalind Furlong

Author

Mary Strickson

Mary Strickson Contributor

I love writing, blogging and reviewing on Voice and other online publications, covering a range of topics but I especially love the arts, activism, film and theatre. When I am not writing I work as an events photographer and artist/illustrator, as well as running workshops in schools and the community, mostly with young people. I'm also a huge history nerd, have a History BA, Art History MA and work in heritage. I love comics, superheroes and anything sci-fi.

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