'Dinner with Saddam': laughs and something to chew on

Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:52am EDT
 
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By Nigel Stephenson

LONDON (Reuters) - In the run-up to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, says British author and playwright Anthony Horowitz, Saddam Hussein would drop in on unsuspecting Baghdadi families and invite himself to dinner.

He did so to evade his enemies and to show solidarity with his people. In Horowitz's new comedy "Dinner with Saddam", it is the fictional Alawi family's turn to feed the dictator.

It is March 19, the eve of the invasion. Ahmed Alawi, played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, is a hapless construction supervisor on a mosque extension who, apparently alone in the city, refuses to believe a storm of cruise missiles is on its way.

His wife, Samira, played by Shobu Kapoor, tramps the streets looking for increasingly rare food and other essentials.

Daughter Rana (Rebecca Grant) is a student, betrothed to repellent but rich Jammal (Nathan Amzi) but in love with out-of-work actor Sayid (Ilan Goodman).

No food, no electricity and a stinking blocked toilet - the last thing they need is a visit from the self-styled father of the Iraqi people.

Horowitz writes in the program that the Iraq war is the "greatest, unresolved scandal" of his lifetime but that it has become boring. Could comedy and farce, he wonders, make people angry again?

  Continued...