Nazanin's Story (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Nazanin's Story

Documentary theatre that hasn't finished yet

The detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by Iran – on the grounds of spying but most likely in a tit-for-tat arrest to pressurise the British government to pay a debt – is so current that the company have had to add a new ending the show during the Fringe. With a family torn apart by international brinksmanship – her husband and daughter are as much victims as Nazanin – a Boris Johnson speech of idiocy and the British state's enthusiasm for avoiding the truth, this story is not just a documentary about one woman and injustice, it poses questions about contemporary diplomacy.

Told plainly, with only a ticking clock providing a dramatic urgency, Howell productions are correctly more concerned with accuracy than theatrical flair. Indeed, the flourishes (notably the Iranian and upper-class English accents) are distracting and undermine the focus on Nazanin's imprisonment and the work of her husband to secure her release. But throughout the play is the belief that theatre can make a difference and bringing this story to life on stage adds an emotional depth that the headlines can't provide.

The cast are versatile and passionate, but ultimately the quality of performance is secondary to the message, and theatre so rarely speaks truth to power as consistently and directly as in this dynamic and immediate production.

Run ended

Nazanin's Story

  • 4 stars

Howell Productions The true and ongoing struggle of a family ripped apart, after Nazanin and her baby daughter were taken in Tehran in 2016. Since that time Nazanin has faced horrors we can only imagine, due to the intrigue of the Anglo-Iranian high politics. Listed for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression award, this is a…


1. John Percival27 Aug 2018, 5:19pm Report

It is impossible not to be reduced to tears watching this play. Far from being a distraction, the accents help to highlight the differences between the Uk and Iranian positions both of which only add to the tragedy . The dignity demonstrated by both Richard and Nazanin can only give hope that the imprisonment will soon be over. Perhaps the BBC might consider showing it although they might consider it too political. I hope that would not be the case.

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