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Playhouse audience at gunpoint

PUBLISHED: 16:34 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:18 16 August 2010

FEAR, intimidation and paranoia emerge as obvious themes of Terrorism as you are ordered to your seat by soldiers, writes Jules Cooper.

FEAR, intimidation and paranoia emerge as obvious themes of Terrorism as you are ordered to your seat by soldiers, writes Jules Cooper.

"Please take your seats promptly," bark three pistol-wielding women, pacing the gloomy loft of the Greenwich Playhouse in peaked caps and black uniform.

The soldiers are in fact part of the first scene - a scene now familiar to Londoners - an airport has been closed due to the discovery of a suspect package.

The audience, still unsettled by their unexpected brush with authority, witness the common dilemma of an exasperated passenger; should he be grateful or angry for the interruption to his life?

Terrorism, first staged in the Royal Court in 2003, explores a world where people lose their humanity and enjoyment to fretting about their work, safety, and those 'ethnics'.

Written in 2000, the Presnyakov Brothers' black comedy predates 9/11, global Islamic terrorism, and all the security intrusions that came in its wake.

Instead, this six-scene play looks at the psychological experience of terror, where the mundane meets pent-up fear resulting in an explosive twist.

"You don't feel safe anywhere now. Only at home," is the protagonist's woeful underestimation of the warped effect terror has had on his life.

The acting is gripping and the cast clearly enjoy their performance, which includes nudity, violence, and hilarious Monty Python-inspired grannies.

The Playhouse's micro-stage poses no problem for director Martin Berry, who has the cast to lose their clothes on stage as well as act as wardrobes to proffer them.

Berry, a 27-year-old former Sidcup student of Rose Bruford College, said: "We have all become fearful of things we don't need to be fearful of.

"This is a microcosm of terror in six little scenes."

Terrorism is now showing at Greenwich Playhouse every Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, and on Sundays at 4pm, until July 20.

Tickets cost £11, with £9 concessions.

Call the box office on 020 8858 9256 or email boxoffice@galleontheatre.co.uk.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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