Multiple Casualty Incident

Sami Ibrahim
Yard Theatre
Yard Theatre

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Luca Kamleh Chapman, Rosa Robson Credit: Marc Brenner
Mariah Louca Credit: Marc Brenner

Multiple Casualty Incident, directed by Jaz Woodcock-Stewart and written by Sami Ibrahim (both Olivier-nominated), is an absorbing exploration of the moral contradictions of western doctors and nurses going to work in refugee camps and war zones. This could have been a dry discussion of those issues, but the ensemble acting here is very human and endearing.

In a sterile training room, three young people, Khaled, Sarah and Dan, prepare for the realities of being in the field by acting out a series of challenging role-plays under the watchful and sometimes ambiguous gaze of their trainer, Nicki. Nicki keeps tweaking the fact patterns slightly, eliciting further improvisation and sometimes despair and resignation as the trainee grasps for the right way to react.

The rhythm is staccato and tense. But there is lightness and humour in the developing flirtation between Khaled (Luca Kamleh Chapman) and Sarah (Rosa Robson) and the droll observations delivered in a deadpan Irish accent by Dan (Peter Corboy). Mariah Louca's Nicki is a subtle and inscrutable performance—especially when allegations of sexual impropriety are made against the humanitarian organisation for which she works.

In the second half, hypotheticals give way to the very real temptations of the combat zone.

There are TV screens on stage throughout on which the recorded role-plays are beamed. These moments, where the characters film each other, are sometimes distracting and could have been deployed more sparingly in the first act. They are deployed more effectively in the second act, when the images double as (apparently) footage from the war zone and the nervous laughter of training transitions into real moral compromise.

Reviewer: Tim Fox

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