Trojan Horse – Summerhall, Edinburgh

The Reviews Hub / David Doyle

4.5 Stars

LUNG Theatre has been creating some of the most exciting theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe for a number of years. Renowned for their challenging verbatim work, their offering at the 2018 Festival, Trojan Horse, is their most ambitious to date. The piece charts the Operation Trojan Horse controversy which gripped Birmingham in 2014 in a piece that looks behind the media headlines to the personal ramifications of a moment in which teachers were accused of radicalising their students in a city-wide plot.

Verbatim work can often feel somewhat stale when exploring moments in history, reducing them to something that can feel akin to reading an archive but that is certainly not the case with Trojan Horse. The piece feels like a timely and important exploration of British society and offers a challenging look at prejudices within it. Edited from interviews, public testimony, media coverage, and reports, the piece offers a comprehensive insight into the incident that prioritises the personal narratives of those in the school. This decision lifts the piece into offering a more nuanced view of the incident and allows far greater insights than a simple retelling of the story.

As well as a wonderful script and performances, the show excels in terms of design. The set, lighting, and sound design all help to tell aspects of the narrative and make the piece feel like a complete entity rather than just individual moments. This creates a feeling of a piece that explores an entire community’s reaction to a moment of crisis. With Trojan Horse, LUNG Theatre have firmly established themselves as one of the most exciting makers of verbatim work.