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The Theatreguide.London Review

Arcola Theatre   Autumn 2019

In 2015, the journalist Can DŁndar committed an act that so irritated the Turkish government it landed him a stretch in prison on a charge of 'espionage and revealing state secrets.'

He had approved the publication of a newspaper story that simply told the truth. It revealed that the National Intelligence Agency of Turkey was running artillery to Islamic rebels in Syria.

The politically engaging play #WeAreArrested is adapted by Pippa Hill and Sophie Ivatts from an account of these events by Can DŁndar, taking us from his brave editorial decision through his subsequent prison confinement and to his later exile from Turkey.

Peter Hamilton Dyer as Can DŁndar wanders on to the performance area, speaking directly to us, conjuring up chronologically dramatised scenes performed by himself and three other actors to illustrate the story of persecution.

He is urbane, gentle and reflective, with an often humorous turn of phrase that, along with the numerous examples of other people's solidarity, helps to give this fine show an upbeat optimistic feel.

The country where this all takes place is only named at the end of the play, as if to encourage us to see links to the persecution of journalists in other countries.

Not long before that happens, the performance is plunged briefly into darkness, as we hear the voice of Tory government minister Michael Gove and recent parliamentary clashes.

Although I couldn't quite see the current UK authorities as equivalent to Turkish government persecution, I still carried a leaflet I was given on the way in, that pointed to the UK agreeing the extradition to the US of the imprisoned Julian Assange for revealing, among other things, the shooting of journalists in Iraq by an American helicopter.

Keith McKenna

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Review -  #WeAreArrested - Arcola Theatre 2019

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