Angel (4 stars)

This article is from 2016


The third consecutive new play at the Fringe by former TV funny man

Former comedy screenwriter Henry Naylor (Spitting Image, Alistair MacGowan, Rory Bremner, one half of Parsons and Naylor) is beginning to make a habit of this. For the third year running, he's returned to the Gilded Balloon with a serious dramatic play based on current issues in the Middle East, and for the second year running (after 2015's Echoes) his sole female performer is the magnetic and versatile Filipa Bragança. Both of his previous pieces earned him a Fringe First, and Angel has repeated that feat.

Here, Bragança plays a fictionalised version of the Angel of Kobani, a young law student who took to assassinating ISIS troops in her home town near the Turkish border ('a bland border town where nothing used to happen … like Berwick-upon-Tweed,' she says knowingly).

Although it retraces the tone and feminist resonances of Echoes, on its own terms Angel is a richly evocative work, both for the way Naylor, Bragança and director Michael Cabot conjure the place, and the way they trace the fear of ISIS' future victims. When the Angel tells a female group of them to 'never be a victim … let them see every drop of your pain', the simple effectiveness of the piece is revealed.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 29 Aug (not 17), 4.30pm, £10.50–£12.50 (£9.50–£10.50).

Angel by Henry Naylor

  • 4 stars

Pipeline Productions present a play about the Angel of Kobane, a near-indestructible sniper who is a ray of hope in a 2014 siege.