The Burma Play - A Comedy of Terror

This article is from 2008.

The Burma Play - A Comedy of Terror

Burma’s political nightmare, from colonial times to the present day

The Fringe may be brimming with comedians cracking gags at the expense of politicians, but it would be fair to presume that few, if any, have tried out their material under the watch of a police state.

The Burma Play, however, was inspired by precisely such an event. In 1996, two Burmese comedians known as the Moustache Brothers were sentenced to six years imprisonment for criticising the country’s ruling military junta, being released only after a lengthy campaign by the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and Amnesty International. The play, which was inspired by their plight, depicts an entertainer recalling the last century of his country’s history, from colonial rule through to the crimes perpetrated by the current regime.

Constantly updated during its ten-year run to include recent events, the new inclusion of the recent brutality unleashed by Burma’s military junta on its population provides a stark reminder of the continuing situation in the country as it slips further from the news agenda. The play’s arrival in Edinburgh also comes soon after one of the Moustache Brothers, U Par Par Lay, was rearrested and imprisoned for six weeks during last year’s protests.

St John’s Church, 229 7565, 4–10 Aug, 4pm, £8 (£5).

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