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Jihad: Inner Struggle

Tramway, Glasgow
3 stars
God saves. But only sometimes, it seems, in this new multi-media led commission for Tramway’s Dark Lights series of new works, conceived and directed by Faroque Khan for his Insaan company. As a wired young Muslim’s dreams are invaded by the ghost of his former Jewish room-mate, the door is opened for 65 minutes of conflict, impasse and eventual redemption among a multi-cultural odd couple. Each guarding the scantest of territories, one treats his body like a temple while the other attempts to find himself in a torrent of hard-partying hedonism. When worlds collide, destiny dictates that one of them must fall.

As Khan hammers home from the off, the word ‘Jihad’ is a much misunderstood concept. Dry as such a starting point may sound, there’s a sexily pumped-up 21st century dynamism at play here, in which Khan himself performs alongside Yoram Mosenzon. Together, the pair leap through a series of physically-charged high-definition set-pieces that play with scale and perspective as much as exultations of love, war, faith and believing. This is accentuated on Caroline Stanton’s state-of-art bachelor-pad set, on which multiple TV screens flash out their modern.mantras.

Such confrontations aren’t, of course, exclusive to Jews and Muslims, as a choreographed back-flip through millions of years of evolution testify to. In the existing climate of fear, however, such obvious polarisations lend weight to Khan’s argument, despite some clunky platitudes at the surface of Troy Fairclough’s script.

While easily ironed out, for now, Jihad’s strengths lie in Khan and Mosenzon’s wordless, well-toned exchanges. Daniel Padden’s restlessly evocative beats and drones underscores the best of this punchy and passionate assault on culture that only occasionally misfires.

The Herald, May 14th 2007

ends

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