Sunday, 29 May 2016

'The Invisible Hand' Tricycle Theatre ****

Goodness gracious me, this year has been atrocious with regards to terrorist activity from all corners of the globe, on the other hand, in some countries terrorism has been ongoing for years and years and with money involved, the situation couldn’t get any worse. The Tricycle Theatre’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s 2012 play, ‘The Invisible Hand’ was such an absorbing plot where someone from the Western world is being dominated by Eastern terrorists as the skills this person has is much required, side by side, the interpretations were unheard-of.

‘The Invisible Hand’ is set in a dingy prison cell in rural Pakistan where we’re familiarised with American banker, Nick Bright who is a connoisseur in the Pakistani market has been kidnapped by an establishment in Pakistan who’s attempting to prevent a positive change and the group is governed by Iman Saleem. We see that Nick offers advice to his jail guard, Dar who states that he should use the supply and demand method in native Pakistan by earning extra cash by trading potatoes as a side thing. However, due to the fact that Dar has been in cahoots with Nick, it has agitated Nick’s captor,     Bahir, who is in fact a British Asian, he gets an idea that by using Nick’s financial expertise it could be a colossal benefit to the incendiary group. When the plan is offered to Nick, he obviously agrees as it keeps his brain working. As a result of the notion to Iman Saleem has been named on the US terrorism register, this means that this is unsettling news for Nick’s ransom of $10,000,000 as his freedom could prove quite tricky. As such; Nick with Bashir’s agreement that they’ll use the stock market in order to raise the ransom money and he’ll educate Bahir on how to manage the finances of the clique. Over the course of the performance, Nick instructs Bashir with the information available on the stock market and how you can use a simple laptop to hedge your bets and from this the money comes rolling into the terrorist establishment’s accounts. Apparently the money which is benchmarked to the inhabitants of Pakistan, the fraught atmosphere between Bahir and Iman intensifies. Nick, frantic to escape has devised a Shawshank Redemption strategy and plows his way thrown the damaged all and makes a run for it, and when he is captured, he is a pretty bloody state and has lost all sense of loyalty towards Bashir and Iman. As the US government are hot on their heels, Nick suggests that Iman invests the money in residential properties but Bashir is disgusted that the capital has been spent on houses for Iman’s wife and due to Iman’s lies; Bashir decides to liquidate his powers. Now Nick has no confederate and a phone call to his wife and child makes him cry as he wants to go home. At the finale, Bashir explains that with Nick’s tutoring, he has taken the whole Pakistani currency hostage and in that event, Nick has worked for his ransom money where he is released from the cell and now a free man in a warzone.  Akhtar’s narrative is standout as you can see that a banker who is mistaken has helped a radical terrorist group obtain the upper hand on the countries money, paradoxically we can see that Nick is a family man and there’s a little venom that comes from Bashir and Iman as they manipulate his emotions to the point where he is left in tears for their own personal gain. 

One found the performances by the company of, ‘The Invisible Hand’ to be extraordinarily poised as they conveyed the tense atmosphere that is increased over time and the conflict and alliances from Western and Eastern cultures which the tables have been turned in this instance where the Pakistani’s are in charge. Also with Rachel Brown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown’s fight direction, we can see that all the fight sequences have been worked to such precision that helps make us feel really uncomfortable and this is probable what the intentions are. Daniel Lapaine is magnificent as central protagonist, Nick Bright; generally how this innocent man has been manipulated into aiding a terrorist group with his knowledge and expertise, but, when he speaks to his wife on the phone, we can see how much of a family man he actually is as he cries as he has no idea on when he’ll return home. Sid Sagar is august as the prison guard, Dar; specifically how even though the character is a rather minor role, he comes across increasingly well as he does listen to what Nick has to express as he realises that as the country is not in that wealthy that he’ll be able to obtain some extra money to physically survive. Parth Thakerar is stately as Nick’s slightly petrifying captor, Bashir; basically how his motives may be too extreme such as the vicious beating of Nick, on the other hand, we learn that he is actually doing this for the best of the Pakistani nation, but his scary nature does come across very natural. Tony Jayawardena is awe-inspiring as the terrorist group’s actual governor, Iman Saleem; for example how imposing he is when he tries to keep Nick in solitary conditions, yet, when he is confronted by Bashir, his powerful nature quickly starts to deteriorate and on his hands and knees begging . 

Indhu Rubasingham’s direction is outstanding here as she has been able to show us how a number of countries in the Eastern vicinity have been completely bombarded by terrorist establishments i.e. Al Qaeda and now ISIS, furthermore, the concrete characterisations were compressively depicted and this is due to the excellent vision from the Tricycle Theatre’s Artistic Director.  Lizzie Clachan’s designs were gorgeous as the actual prison cell looked so harsh and brutal which is what a prison cell should look like in this country with limited resources available, in addition to this, the scenic art and scenic construction is progressively elegant and crafted to tenacity and ease. Overall, the experience of, ‘The Invisible Hand’ to be a current portrayal of what the world in 2016 has been suffering and this has been happening in drips and drabs for the past 16 years.

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