Review: Jerusalem Tango

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Leeds Carriageworks

Trudging to the theatre on a thoroughly wet and miserable night to watch a play I’d never heard of, my expectations for Jerusalem Tango weren’t high. But by the time it had finished, I was glad I’d made the effort.

Set in British-controlled Jerusalem in 1946, two years before Israeli independence, the story revolves around a young Jewish woman, Ziva, who goes to the King David Hotel to dance the tango. There she meets a British officer, Thomas, who falls under her spell.

The audience is then drawn into a tangled web of love and conflicting loyalties behind the true story of a terrorist outrage that shocked the world and signalled the end of the British colonial presence in the Middle East.

The play, written by Pat Rowe, tries to give a human face to the complex issues surrounding this volatile part of the world and hold a microscope over the topic of terrorism. The small studio space could hamper such an expansive story but the size of the venue actually helps to add to the sense of claustrophobia in the story.

The dialogue is a little cliched at times but the plot holds together and the characters are convincing enough to make you care what happens to them. The performances are good, most notably Jenny Leveton as Ziva, and the music transports you back to another time and place. This is well worth going to see, whatever the weather.

To May 26.