Lady of Burma
- Miles Johnson
- 9 August 2007
This article is from 2007.
True story of imprisoned Nobel Prize winner
Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy activist and lady of Burma to which the title refers, is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner to be currently in jail. The country’s ruling military junta is one of the most abhorrent regimes in the world, with its population subject to long sentences of hard labour for merely not declaring any guest to the authorities. So the play’s subject matter in certainly an important one, being premiered at this year’s festival by the Burma Campaign in an effort to raise awareness of Suu Kyi’s plight. But as noble as its intentions may be, Richard Shannon’s production possesses the worst characteristics of political theatre, at points coming very close to Soviet-style hagiography. Written in the present tense as she tells her tale from the confines of her cell, many sections are didactic to the point of resembling a reading from a history book with an often strong performance from Liana Mau Tan Gould unable to rescue it from its clunking portentousness. Suu Kyi is a brilliant woman who should be rightly celebrated for her bravery, but crude political saint worshiping masquerading as art belongs more to the Eastern Bloc than the theatres of the Fringe.
Assembly@St George’s West, 623 3030, until 27 Aug, 4.45pm, £12–£13 (£10–£11) .