Adelaide Fringe 2020: The Nights by Henry Naylor

Image courtesy of Adelaide Fringe

WHERE: The Arch, Holden Street Theatres

WHEN: 19 Feb – 15 Mar

DURATION: 50 minutes

TICKETS: $20 – $28 – buy them here

Henry Naylor’s the Nights, exhibits insight to the media frenzy when the story of Shamima Begum broke out – the 15 year old school girl from Bethnal Green, who ran away to become an ISIS jihadi bride and is now seeking to return home. Journalist Jane Fitzcarter (Lennon) is crafting the headlining story for the paper, and seeks out Captain Kane (Boulton) a man currently on trial for war crimes, for a statement that will provide her article with the political bent she is looking for.

Without a doubt, Naylor weaves together an incredibly tight script, the content of the Nights does not lose a second to wasted dialogue. He paints scenes of war in excruciating detail, describing the atrocities of war, and the reality of the cruelty of the human spirit, and seeking vengeance on others.

Naylor uses Captain Kane as a vehicle to explore the lack of clarity as to who are the real enemies and heroes of the Iraqi campaign. As well as the idea of war for the cause of Western values, which ultimately reveals Captain Kane’s spiral in to shameful behavior during his service, painting him as the villain and not the hero initially projected on him by journalist Fitzcarter.

Throughout, the importance that investigative journalism has in paving the way for the truth is underlined. I could not help but think about how I have instant access to current affairs all around the world from the comfort of an app at home. I would not have this luxury without others risking their wellbeing to get close to the ‘action’ and obtain access to the truth. 

Aside from the merits of the script, unfortunately I could not get past the mis-timed music and dialog which completely ruined the flow of one of Lennon’s monologues, as well as Boulton’s lack of familiarity with his lines, the occasional clumsy articulation and fumbling of his words came off awkward, disjointed and ruined momentum. Even if it was a stylistic choice, it was a poor one.

This performance was not on the same elevated level as previous years’ performances. There is a commendable exploration of ideas, is written well (of course), however the delivery let it down. It’s still the first week of Fringe.. perhaps they’re just warming up?

3.5 / 5 stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s