The MAC, Belfast
20 April 2018
It’s safe to assume that everyone knows who Osama Bin Laden was, and by extension the cultural impact that his actions have had on the Western world. It was this man who made Americans first truly fear terrorism on a national level, ushered in two new wars in the Middle East, ensured a certain Simpson’s episode would never be shown again, and forced changes to the endings of both Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and Metal Gear Solid 2.
But who was the man himself? What drove him to commit the atrocities in the name of Islam? Where did the hatred come from?
Sitting in the front row of a packed out theatre in Belfast’s trendy Metropolitan Arts Centre these were the questions that I was here to have answered.
I have to commend the team in Knaïve Theatre for even taking on the subject matter, in some circles it would be called defending the unthinkable, but they’ve successfully pulled off a show that is poignant, funny, intelligent, very entertaining.
Told in the form of a motivational speech and with all the flair of a Hollywood hero we follow the journey of a young man caught up in protest of the communist puppet-government in Afghanistan. Thus begins an odyssey from the Soviet invasion to the disenfranchisement with the post-Soviet world, and the plan to build an Islamic State not subject to the US, Russia, or the Muslim leaders who had been too happy to sell out their people for personal enrichment.
With no apologies and fearless in its performance the story charts the highs and lows of a life on a collision course with the world around it.
It’s worth remembering that there are two sides to every story and sometimes that means facing uncomfortable truths about the world we live in, and in such a place though the acts of murder can never be justified the events leading to them can at least be understood.
Bin Laden: The One Man Show is brave in the subject matter it tackles, it’s funny in its presentation, and it’s thought provoking in the questions it asks about the foreign policies of the West.
Worth every moment of its runtime and beyond, Bin Laden: The One Man Show is an inspired piece of theatre that will make you ask yourself, what can I do to change the world?
Available for sale