Thursday, 8 October 2015

REVIEW - Dinner With Saddam, Menier Chocolate Factory


IN a bid to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, the late dictator Saddam Hussein used to drop in unannounced at the homes of people living in Baghdad for dinner.
It was a way of not only visiting his people but it was also a way of evading the Americans and their attempts to assassinate him.
And it is this idea that has formed the basis of a blisteringly funny play, Dinner With Saddam now on at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
Written by Anthony Horrowitz it stars Steven Berkoff as Saddam with Sanjeev Baskhar and Shobu Kapoor as his host and hostess.
Saddam pitches up at the most inconvenient time for them. The toilet is blocked, the plumber can't find the problem quick enough to deal with it, the host is having problems controlling his articulate and intelligent daughter, not to mention the man to whom she has been betrothed from birth.
So to have their dear leader in their midst is all a bit much.
The comedy is ramped to the max with dead bodies, rat poison and a bag of turds in the fridge - yes really.
And while it is a fine line to tread between sending up the situation and revealing the true horrors of both the war and the help Saddam got from the Americans and us Brits in his war with Iran, it manages just about to do so.
It is at times hilarious and at times shocking in the facts it imparts. The cast is just terrific especially Sanjeev Baskhar whose comedic timing is spot on.

Dinner With Saddam is on at the Menier Chocolate Factory until November 14. Tickets from £35. Visit or call the box office on 020 7378 1713.

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