- Liam Hainey
- 23 August 2017
This article is from 2017
A horrifying holiday
Set in a future where the site of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has become a luxury holiday destination, Last Resort is masterfully crafted piece of immersive theatre. Drawing inspiration from psychological horror classics this two-hander is finely tuned to present a rictus grin on the surface while hinting at something truly horrifying lurking just beneath.
Like any good holiday resort, there are reps on hand to make you comfortable. When you arrive, you are greeted with a complimentary Cuba Libre (non-alcoholic versions are available) before being seated in a bright orange deck chair. You are then invited to remove your shoes and socks and submerge your feet in a bag of sand that makes up a personal private beach.
All of this is naturally immersive but it's also disorientating. Sipping rum at the back of noon while reclining at a comfortable, but unusual angle, is normal in the context of a real cruise or holiday. But here, in the oppressive bowels of Summerhall, it's entirely out place.
With the guests now off balance and firmly in their grasp, our holiday reps take us on a trip round some of the most appalling crimes committed in the name of security.
Among the most effective is a relaxation session in the resort's spa. The guided meditation begins in a familiar way. We are asked to release the tension in our necks, let the relaxation spread from neck to shoulders and so on. Slowly, however, the session transforms into something that amounts to an imaginative simulation of waterboarding. It's brutal and intense.
Of course, none of this sounds particularly pleasant, and it isn't. However, it does provide a harrowing glimpse into the inhumanity that existed, and exists, in Guantanamo. This is political theatre at its finest.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug, noon (also 6.30pm on 25 & 26), £10.