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Theatre Review: Seven Seconds at Elmwood Tennis Club

PUBLISHED: 18:44 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 18:44 27 January 2015

Peter Neathey as  Bob Bernstein in Seven Seconds     Picture caption: Christina Jansen

Peter Neathey as Bob Bernstein in Seven Seconds Picture caption: Christina Jansen

Archant

In the quiet confines of a Kensal Rise tennis club, a crowd are watching a play about the third tower that fell on September 11 2001.

Former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler as James Bone from The Times in Seven Seconds.  Picture caption: Christina JansenFormer MI5 whistleblower David Shayler as James Bone from The Times in Seven Seconds. Picture caption: Christina Jansen

It seems an apt place to put on a play like this. Holding it in Elmwood Tennis Club on Holland Road seems somehow slightly covert.

The lights are low in the intimate space. It’s ever so slightly disturbing, but perhaps that is what truth feels like when the blindfolds come off.

Seven Seconds by Retep Yehtaen is set in a press conference where actors play the part of living journalists - George Monbiot of the Guardian, James Bone of the Times, Nicholas Lezard and Robert Fisk of the Independent, the Telegraph’s Damian Thompson and columnist David Aaronovitch, whose verbatim words are juxtaposed with television and internet footage surrounding that day’s event when more than 3000 people were murdered.

Did you know a third tower fell that day in the World Trade Centre?

A 47 storey tower fell in freefall, taking less than seven seconds to hit the ground. The official line is that it was brought down by fire but that would make it the first and only steel structure building in the world to collapse in that way.

Former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler plays James Bone while Matt Campbell, whose 31-year-old brother Geoff died in the North Tower, plays George Monbiot.

When one of the journalists asks if it’s fair on the families, to open wounds like that, you tend to think it’s more unfair not to.

The play attempts to expose governments while highlighting the complete inadequacy of mainstream media in researching the material properly. But like the Jersey Girls say, the American widows who lobbied the US Government to carry out an investigation into the terror attacks which resulted in the 9/11 Commission “omission” Report, there is so much information “you need someone to connect the dots”.

The Q&A at the end responds to any accusations of conspiracy theorists at work, if anyone asks that after what they’ve what they’ve just witnessed.

Next playing at MAP Studio Cafe, Kentish Town, March 7-8

4/5 stars


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