Dinner with Saddam is a political comedy play written by Anthony Horowitz. Horowitz based the play on a newspaper article he read a decade ago. The article was about Saddam Hussain, more specifically, his habit of visiting ordinary peoples’s homes for dinner without warning around the time that his regime was under threat from Western forces.
It seems, on the surface, a strange event to base a comedy play on – possibly the biggest unresolved scandal of recent times. An invasion which involved missiles falling down on a city full of citizens, weapons of mass destruction never found, protests ignored… Doesn’t sound funny – does it?
The play is a masterpiece. It manages to be comical but also make a statement taking shots at Western leaders of the time. It makes no attempt to excuse Hussain’s actions which were, at times, brutal, but makes a point of saying Iraq was stable under his regime and his removal has left a vacuum. It is a very thought-provoking piece – I am in awe.
The play begins with a normal family scene with Sanjeev Bhaskar (Spamalot, Unforgotten (TV), Doctor Who (TV)) and Shobu Kapoor (A Night in Tunisia, House of the Sun, Eastenders (TV)) playing Ahmed and Samira Alawai. Their daughter, Rana, played by Rebecca Grant (Bombay Dreams, Around the World in 80 Days, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), has an arranged marriage to Jammal, portrayed by Nathan Amzi (Rock of Ages, In The Heights, Urinetown), but she is reluctant to go through with it despite her father’s insistence. Their world is turned upside down when Colonel Farouk, played by Ilan Goodman (Bad Jews, Dorian Grey, Austentatious), arrives on their doorstep and announces President Hussain, played by Steven Berkoff (Salomé (stage), A Clockwork Orange (film), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (film)), is coming for dinner and possibly staying the night!
The cast are all outstanding, perfectly executed performances and amazing to watch. The actions of a ruthless dictator, anti-President groups, rat poison, suits and farts – what a show! I know that sounds like a very bizarre description but it works on so many levels.
This production is directed by Lindsay Posner and is playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory until November 14th. – a wonderful venue for a wonderful play. The Menier Chocolate Factory is one of my personal favourite theatres as it is small like other off-West End theatres but classy like West End theatres. I must, again, praise the merchandising – a crisp, clean programme with absolutely no advertising, and a poster.
An outstanding production with every aspect on point. To book tickets click the link below, but hurry tickets are selling fast and you definitely don’t want to miss this one. https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com/Online/default.asp?sToken=1%2C4b958ea6%2C5616dc90%2C8482FB85-C6E0-45CF-95EE-4C2035534CD9%2Ch72CbHqZIDWyd9UKjQESyQk9ssU%3D&BOset::WScontent::SearchResultsInfo::current_page=1&doWork::WScontent::getPage=&BOparam::WScontent::getPage::article_id=2AE8014F-542E-465E-A0CA-94D6C7871CB5