Thrilling piece of up-to-the-minute theatre
The Economist | Review
There’s been a lot said of The Economist, even before its first preview on Tuesday night. It tackles the difficult subject of Norwegian terrorist Anders Brevik – slightly fictionalised here as Andrew Berwick. Local media didn’t like Manderson-Galvin’s criticism of the media in regards to the case, nor of his highlighting the fact that Brevik had quoted rightwing Australian politicians and pundits in his manifesto.
The play, as I expected, cannot be judged on the conservative backlash it has received. The play is an interesting meditation on how a man like Brevik and his worldview is formed, but it doesn’t really attack his political beliefs any more than it deconstructs his love of first-person shooter games and World of Warcraft. It does have interesting commentary on the media’s role in creating the madman they want rather than the cunning terrorist they have, but it’s the fusion of all these little pieces that make both the person (be it Brevik or Berwick) and the play fascinating.
Manderson-Galvin’s script is thoughtful and poetic and Badham’s direction keeps the whole thing moving like a freight train, which makes it all the more unnerving when the shooting begins. Though the question might be “too soon?”, the answer most surely is a thrilling piece of up-to-the-minute theatre that I think will grow over its season – and probably seasons to come.