- Deborah Chu
- 13 August 2018
A searing indictment of 'British values' and Tory policy in modern Britain
In 2014, documents alleging that teachers and governors at three Birmingham schools were indoctrinating children with extremist Islamic views were leaked to the media. While those allegations have now been widely discredited, the subsequent maelstrom of Islamophobia and political posturing that engulfed the Muslim-majority, working class community of Alum Rock has been well-documented – indeed, much of LUNG's Trojan Horse is taken verbatim from the real-life testimonies of those at the heart of the government inquiry.
Five actors do an excellent job whirling through a litany of characters, fleshing out documentary detail and instilling it with real confusion, fury and pain, from the Birmingham councilwoman attempting damage control to the governors and teachers crushed as years of hard work evaporates within days. Even a racist 'whistleblower' is no monster, but her inability – or unwillingness – to adapt to the needs of a changing curriculum and demographic has tragic consequences.
Transitions are set to a driving, relentless bass, overlaid by distorted snippets of media coverage and party lines, highlighting the disorientating furore as politicos and press alike scramble to take advantage of the situation. But what of the schoolchildren, who endured months of needless scrutiny and surveillance? This crucial perspective is what Trojan Horse manages to excavate from the noise, centring the tale's emotional core around Farah, a young girl who finds respite from her troubled home life through school. Her fate becomes a chilling reminder of who the true victims of the catastrophe are, a fact that will not be found in any government document or think-piece on the subject.
Summerhall, until 26 Aug, 3.15pm, £12 (£11).