The Djinns of Eidgah - Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Review (Bread Theatre and Film Company, University of Cambridge)

image of event
Photo credit: Bread Theatre and Film Company

The first thing that "The Djinns of Eidgah" gives you is a printed programme, and then it only continues to give. This, however, is not a standard theatre programme. Sure, it has a cast list, but most crucially it has a list of translations, and historical background information from the setting of the play. This is when it was evident that Bread Theatre were taking this extremely seriously, without having entered the auditorium yet. Being briefed on what you're about to see is a refreshing change of pace for the Fringe, as opposed to running around the city from show to show and having to adjust to the subject matter and genre after the show has started.

The script is great, the tech is really great, but what really shines through here is the acting. Every single one of the performers are some of the best I've seen at the Fringe this year. I was so convinced by every word, every line, every movement that the climax of the play bears such emotional weight that I forgot I was in Edinburgh, and felt like I was in India. 

There were 2 actors playing English soldiers. They were both absolutely terrifying, and to watch a play in the UK that paints the English in such an awful light is a real wakeup call to how our nation used to treat other countries, no less than 80 years ago. Sure, you have shows like "Hamilton", which are technically portraying the English as the villains, but in the majority of Western theatre and general media, the "villainous" English are often played for laughs. There was nothing funny about this. The two characters are very different, and we do learn about them. They're two genuinely terrifying characters that make you ashamed to be English, if you are. That's not an emotion I've felt at the theatre before.

EDIT: Bread Theatre have since been in contact to let me know that whilst, historically speaking, the soldiers are not English, they purposely cast them as white with English accents to highlight the contrast and make the point that I mentioned above.

This is also longer than your average Fringe play - clocking in at 90 minutes. This provides a lot more time for a complex plot to develop, including 3 main plots that all converge at the end. I'll say no more about the plot. I cannot urge you hard enough to go and see this play.

All there is to say in terms of recommendation, is that this play is not for kids. Not necessarily due to excessive violence or swearing, just that the subject matter is very heavy. The Fringe website has this listed as a 12+ show, I'd say it's 16+.

Overall, I'm absolutely infatuated with this. If you have the time, go and see it. You won't regret it.

Verdict: ★★★★★

"The Djinns of Eidgah" runs daily at Apex Hotel Grassmarket (Sweet Grassmarket), through to the 18th August at 16:15.

By Lewis Forman


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