Review: Trojan Horse - Leeds Playhouse

LUNG Theatres production of Trojan Horse at Leeds Playhouse.
LUNG Theatres production of Trojan Horse at Leeds Playhouse.
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Unsettling, engaging, thought-provoking, controversial, LUNG Theatre’s Trojan Horse was the perfect choice as the opening play for the newly redeveloped Leeds Playhouse.

It represents precisely the kind of incisive, challenging work the Playhouse champions.

Trojan Horse is an award-winning docu-drama.

Trojan Horse is an award-winning docu-drama.

The verbatim company’s award-winning docu-drama, compiled by writers Helen Monks and Matt Woodhead from 200 hours of interviews and material in the public domain, tells the ignoble story of the 2014 ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal when a number of Birmingham schools were accused of teaching extremist Muslim ideology to their students.

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It charts with unflinching honesty the media storm that followed, fuelled by unsubstantiated claims, and a series of brutally inflexible OFSTED inspections seemingly commissioned with the sole purpose of finding ‘evidence’ of a so-called ‘Islamic Threat’.

Michael Gove, Minister of Education at the time, doesn’t come out of all this very well, and nor should he – his actions and those of certain sections of the Press helped create an atmosphere of fear, hatred and division.

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Performed by five actors playing multiple characters (teachers, pupils, local councillors, inspectors) with great skill and conviction on a minimal set comprising school desks moved into position to represent a range of spaces and locations, the production is slick, energetic, timely and troublingly resonant.

FOUR STARS