Afghanistan Is Not Funny @ The Studio At Holden Street Theatre, Adelaide 15/2/2022

This year’s Adelaide Fringe will hopefully be a return to the Fringe of old as we get to experience the world premiere of a wonderful play by Henry Naylor. Henry was sorely missed last year and his plays are regularly performed at Holden St Theatres during the Fringe with the last one being the excellent The Nights in 2020. Like all the other plays I have seen of Henry’s, Afghanistan is Not Funny was just as fantastic. He is a serious, skilful and clever writer and for the first time, we get to see Henry performing the show. This makes perfect sense for this show as it is biographical. To me, the show is basically a one-person play which is the origin story of why Henry writes the thought-provoking plays he does.

The play discusses the Taliban recently returning to power in Afghanistan and then recounts the incredible exploits he had when he and a photographer travelled to Afghanistan’s war zone soon after 9/11. Henry’s stagecraft and Martha Lott’s direction are first class. Henry would return to different parts of the stage whenever the same characters were being discussed. I found the story riveting and the 75 minutes of the play seemed to flow by very quickly which is indicative of a great show. The director Martha Lott also founded and runs Holden Street Theatre which for me year after year always put on very classy shows. I look forward to seeing other shows at the venue this Fringe and hopefully more plays by Henry in the future.

Fringe Review By Richard De Pizzol

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