Foreign Radical (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

Foreign Radical

Urgent questions on terrorism and surveillance recast as a sinister game show

The issue with much immersive theatre is that, no matter how involved the audience feels, it's the creators who ultimately hold all the power. In Foreign Radical, from Vancouver's Theatre Conspiracy, that power becomes the event's central concern. Not-so-gently cajoled by Milton Lim's sinister game-show host, the audience is posed questions – innocuous at first, then increasingly intrusive.

Divided and subdivided according to belief, opinion or experience, we're ushered between curtained sectors. It all heads towards a judgment on a suspected Islamic extremist, and whether, based on the scant evidence we've seen, we'd be happy for the state to keep a close eye on his activities.

The irony, of course, is that the audience is being monitored and guided just as much as the suspect, and that the rules we're submitting to as part of the show are just as rigid and uncompromising as those set behind closed doors by shadowy government agencies.

This is a clever, provocative show that tackles difficult contemporary questions head-on, and lets nobody off the hook. And it's carried off with such slick persuasion that you'll hardly notice how much you're giving away, or compromising yourself. Foreign Radical is urgent, timely and necessary.

CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 1pm, £10 (£8).

Foreign Radical

  • 4 stars

Theatrical game exploring security, profiling, privacy and freedom of expression in the age of cyber-surveillance.