The Initiate (3 stars)

Tense Edinburgh Fringe drama about the effect of Somali pirate kidnapping on London community


This article is from 2014.

The Initiate

This intense, snappy drama from Alexandra Wood is an affecting tale of how the high profile Somali pirate kidnappings have affected London’s Somali community. Andrew French plays a cabbie who has lost his job for ‘talking too much’ – though it’s implied his Somali heritage may have something to do with it too. He comes home to find his son too scared to go to school, because he closely resembles one of the young pirates pictured on TV. So he sets off to Somalia on a quest to rescue the British couple who have recently been kidnapped, encountering doubt at every turn.

French, Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis deliver fantastic performances, revolving between the many characters of the play. A few of the scenes feel a touch too long, but the dialogue crackles – Salis’ pirate is particularly brilliant, simultaneously notching up the tension and defusing it with some of the play’s funniest lines. But while The Initiate is great at conveying the troubled, torn emotions of its reluctant hero cabbie, it lacks a certain thrill – a little more energy in its staging would make it a much more gripping production.

Summerhall @ Roundabout, 560 1581, 15, 19 and 21 Aug, 1.50pm; 16, 23 Aug, noon. £15–£17(£10–£12).

This article is from 2014.

The Initiate

  • 3 stars

Paines Plough A British couple are seized by Somali pirates. In East London, a Somali taxi driver decides to rescue them. Meeting disbelief with determination, he dismisses his wife’s fears and flies out to negotiate their release. Speeding from the banks of the Thames to the now unfamiliar world of his homeland, he…


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