Gun Show

Steven Young with additional material by Bronwyn Sullenberger, Misty Clark and ensemble

Texas Women’s University Drama

Greenside @ Nicolson Square

From 04 August 2017 to 12 August 2017

Rating: ***

Review by Keith Mckenna

If you want a gun in the USA without any background checks then it is not very difficult. You could for instance head to one of the two thousand odd gun shows that are held each year, the largest of which can sell over a thousand firearms in a weekend.

No wonder death by guns in America is running at thirty-two thousand a year and two thirds of suicides are carried out by gun.

The Gun Show performed by Texas Women’s University Drama takes a hard look at various aspects of this American nightmare and has come up with an entertaining opposition to US gun culture.

It opens with Sinatra singing the praises of guns as the cast parade on whiteboards shocking facts about the US and guns (some of which finds its way into this review).

The performance consists of a series of sketches from a surreal set of murders of puppets in a restaurant to a tense and serious classroom argument between a teacher and a student following the success of the scary Texas Senate Bill 11 that allows students to carry arms onto campus.

However a central thread of the show is an account of two mass murders fifty years apart. They imply that little has changed between the shootings in 1966 by Charles Whitman, the “Texas Tower Sniper”, and the 2016 killing of five police by Micah Johnson, angry at the continued murder of black people by police.

The problem they suggest is not who uses the weapons so much as the danger of the sheer availability of the weapons and the ease with which they can be used.

The show is thoughtful, engaging and well performed. It may not have the financial clout of the National Rifle Association, which they point out spends millions each year lobbying against gun control, but they certainly have the better arguments.