Chronicles Of Modern Disillusionment: The War Has Not Yet Started

The War Has Not Yet Started, Southwark Playhouse ★★★☆☆

Sophia Shluger
By Sophia Shluger Last edited 6 months ago

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Chronicles Of Modern Disillusionment: The War Has Not Yet Started The War Has Not Yet Started, Southwark Playhouse 3
Photo © Steve Tanner

Mikhail Durnenkov’s latest show, The War Has Not Yet Started, is a cohesive collection of probing and surrealistic narratives on modernity. The show is performed by Hannah Britland, Sarah Hadland and Mark Quartly, strong performers who are unfortunately slightly upstaged by the script itself.

Served up in 12 standalone vignettes, Durnenkov brings to life twisted and often hilarious impossibilities; but it is the subtle way the script challenges the audience to consider their plausibility that makes the stories both amusing and meaningful.

Photo © Steve Tanner

For example, it distills with great precision the potential real-life consequences of adultery of the imagination and the moral quandaries of fake news (with a nod to the parable of the boy who cried wolf). It also strikes the right balance of humour and horror as it uncovers our collective paranoias and disturbing behavioural norms.

The background, an ugly modular living room set with mismatched patterns, evokes a sense of desperate sadness and nostalgia, which almost serves to further validate the realism of the stories told. Well-paced and fluid, the show breaks the tension between and within pieces with upbeat and varied musical interludes and loosely philosophical one-liners such as ‘Are you drinking the beer or is the beer drinking you?’ which engender chuckles.

Photo © Steve Tanner

Less an acute criticism and more an exposé of the dystopian riddles of modern life, The War Has Not Yet Started is impressive in the thoughtfulness of its ideas and observations. It is also pleasurable to watch despite being both provocative and disturbing.

The War Has Not Yet Started, Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway,  SE1 6BD. Tickets £20/£16 concessions. Until 10 February 2018.

Last Updated 22 January 2018