Osama The Hero

Your eyes do not deceive you. It really is called Osama The Hero.

If anyone knows Dennis Kelly (whose most recent work includes the Channel 4 series Utopia), they’ll know he’s not always the most pleasant writer.

Although his scripts can sometimes be gratuitous, there are some real gems in there and this play is no exception with some beautiful monologues at the end.

The audience meets outside the Bag O’Nails and is brought round the back of a house in a relatively obscure part of Lenton. It could be quite a nice spot but in the dark it is a little intimidating.

The play itself takes place in a converted barn at the back of this house. It is cold, damp and (especially given the publicity image of the play’s poster and the chair placed in the middle of the stage area) ominous.

This atmospheric set-up was a clever device by director Ben Williamson and producer Lucy Dollman, refraining from using recorded sound effects or operated lighting, which made everything seem that little bit more in control of the characters, the story and the set. All of this helped the solid performances of a very fine cast.

Dan O’Connor (who in some ways had one of the harder jobs) was very convincing and easy to sympathise with, which helped drive the plot forward quite nicely – not to give anything away.

Lizzie Frainier (who had one of the best speeches, closing the play) and James McAndrew worked very well both together and individually, constantly switched on, believable and engaging. Ajay Stevenson and Laura Cromona had a great presence and confidence, encouraging both laughter and fear from the audience.

This production fits nicely into the feel of the Nottingham New Theatre’s UNCUT season, really using its location for effect, giving you the chance to see something different, atmospheric, a little bit voyeuristic, and very well performed. Only one more chance to go and see it so make sure you do – but wrap up warm!