The Sky Is Safe (3 stars)

This article is from 2017

The Sky Is Safe

credit: John Wilkie

Problematic drama looks at the Syrian conflict from a woman's perspective

Scottish businessman Gordon is in Istanbul for work when he encounters hustler Murat, who in turn introduces him to his sister Amal, a young woman who has fled a legal career in Syria and now scrapes together a living as a high-class escort. Their tender affair quickly abandons its no-personal-information agreement, but when Gordon comes clean about the real reason he's in Turkey, he opens an unbridgeable chasm between them.

Matthew Zajac's at times harrowing two-hander from Highlands-based Dogstar Theatre looks at the Syrian conflict firmly from a woman's perspective – in fact, from that of several women. Woven in among the dark drama of Gordon and Amal's liaison are the agonising testimonies from other Syrian women, forced to betray their husbands, or abused at army checkpoints, or whose infants are the targets of snipers.

This timely, urgent work is convincingly delivered by Zajac himself and Palestinian / Lebanese actor Dana Hajaj, and with an evocative set design by Nihad Al Turk. But there are dramatic problems, not least of which is the play's sudden shift sideways into its first-person testimonies once Gordon has dropped his bombshell, so that its central relationship remains undeveloped and unresolved. It's a problematic piece, but one that's also full of compelling fury and hope.

Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), 7.45pm, £15 (£10).

The Sky is Safe

  • 3 stars

Dogstar present the tale of a Syrian refugee and a Westerner, from writer/performer Matthew Zajac and director Ben Harrison.