Petrol Jesus Nightmare # 5 (In the Time of the Messiah)

Henry Adam
Traverse 1

Henry Adam's last play at Traverse during the Fringe was a claustrophobic comedy about Scottish drug dealers. Despite the fact that Petrol Jesus Nightmare is set in a burnt-out house occupied by Israeli soldiers, there is something of the same atmosphere with too many bickering people in too small a place.

Slomo and Buddy (James Cunningham and Aleksander Mikic) are beginning to behave like animals after so long at war and so many atrocities seen. They are kept in order by their own friendship and their sergeant Yossariat, played by Joseph Thompson.

He is nicknamed Yossarian in an obvious reference to Catch 22 by one of the two unusual American visitors who wander around the war zone oblivious to the explosive activity all around.

This is Lewis Howden as a Christian fundamentalist Texan in a cowboy hat. His fellow traveller, the wife of an extremist right-wing rabb,i is mad but may on occasion get to deep truths.

In particular Susan Vidler in this part accuses the rich oilman of attempting to destabilise the region in an effort to discover oil. He is also a man who at some level believes himself to be the new Messiah.

Petrol Jesus Nightmare # 5 (In the Time of the Messiah) is an odd and uneven play with a title and set, by Soutra Gilmour, like an art installation.

It is harsh and does not present easy answers although might be seen as condemnatory of religious fundamentalists and globalising superpowers. It also suffers from an awful lot of shouting that surely would be inadvisable in a war zone.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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