The Judgement of Hakim

Showing at Unity Theatre
19th - 20th September 2014
Written by Andrew Sherlock
Directed by Mark Smith
Performed by Nick Birkenshaw

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

The Judgement of Hakim is more of an experience than simply a play, with the audience thrust into the spotlight as we become the interrogated. Hakim, the interrogator, played by the magnificent Nick Birkinshaw, makes it clear we can leave if we wish - with permission naturally. He examines how much information we are willing put out into the world, without ever really understanding where that information goes. Whether it be credit cards, social media or texting, the idea that we are monitored beyond our comprehension is as worrying as it is terrifying. It is the conspiracy lover’s dream, in which we are all guilty of something and the question of how far ‘they’ can go to find out what we are guilty of is fully open for discussion.

The performance borders on the uncomfortable from the minute it begins, Birkenshaw is as disturbing as he is spine chilling. As the creepy yet dapper older gentleman dealing in the shadows of society, Birkenshaw captivates his audience as he teases them into the palm of his hand. It is almost as if he was born to play the role of Hakim. He cleverly questions our morals and makes us question how we would feel if it was one of our own at risk and torture was the only way to get the information required.

The Judgement of Hakim is not an easy play to watch, it is troubling, disconcerting and yet though provoking and illuminating. It is wonderfully written and Sherlock has clearly crafted something very special here, luckily, he has Birkensaw to bring his idea to life.

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