Bride of the Gulf (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Bride of the Gulf

An alternative view of the Gulf Wars

Alternating between naturalism and an allusive dramaturgy, Bride of the Gulf is a stern corrective to Anglo-American fantasies about the wars in Iraq. Concentrating on the people of Basra, it moves chillingly towards a tragic finale, which expresses the grief and anguish of a people supposedly liberated by invading forces.

The switches between the poetic and realistic are elegantly managed, as one family live through the chaos of the Gulf War and, ultimately, pay the price of collaboration. The suffering of women – less melodramatic than that of the soldier – becomes a metaphor for the trials of the Iraqi people, and British insouciance – they may not have fixed the infrastructure, but at least Blackwatch toured internationally – is replaced by a dynamic remembrance of the thousands who died in a war often sold as a victory for democracy.

With a strong cast, an incisive script and a sensitivity to the culture of Iraq, Bride argues for a theatre that escapes the pull of Eurocentric romanticism and speaks of mundane anguish. The minimal scenography emphasises the claustrophobia of occupation, drawing attention to the emotional detail and explicating the motivations behind resistance and the naive adventurism of the USA-UK invasion.

C cubed, until 27 Aug (not 14), 3.10pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£5.50–£9.50).

Bride of the Gulf

  • 4 stars

Thinkery and Verse (New York, USA) Amid the violence that followed the British withdrawal from Basra in 2007, a sharp-witted Iraqi woman searches for her missing husband at the behest of her mother-in-law. A world premiere new work dedicated to the resilience of life in Basra, Iraq, and based upon a collaboration of New…