Sunday, 26 April 2015
Theatre review: I Wish To Die Singing
The play takes the form of a lecture, performed by Jilly Bond, describing the history behind the massacre, the events of 1915 and '16, and the aftermath. It's interspersed with dramatised accounts from those who experienced it and survived.
There are plenty of powerful moments - Bevan Celestine and Tamar Karabetyan are strong as children caught in the horrors, and Siu-See Hung's impression of a seven-year-old girl is also a thing that happens. The play doesn't always run smoothly between its various threads though, and Tommo Fowler's production feels a bit unbalanced.
The ultimate point I Wish To Die Singing is trying to make is that while the UN has acknowledged it as a genocide, having defined the term around it, the events have not been universally acknowledged as such even now - not just Turkey, but Britain and the US, who have military interests there, have not yet formally declared it to have happened in the way described. It's an important historical note that should be addressed, but the focus on this at the end does add to the general imbalance of a show that can't quite string all its, sometimes very well realised, strands together.
I Wish To Die Singing by Neil McPherson is booking until the 16th of May at the Finborough Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes straight through.