Guantanamo - 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom', Tricycle Theatre, London

4.00

Rough justice in paradise

The Tricycle has a noble tradition of "tribunal theatre". Thanks to its artistic director, Nicholas Kent (often working with the journalist Richard Norton-Taylor), we've been made witness to meticulous dramatic reconstructions of (among others) the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (in
The Colour of Justice), the Hutton hearings (in
Justifying War), the UN War Crimes Tribunal of 1996 (in
Srebrenica) and the
Nuremberg Trials of fifty years earlier.

The Tricycle has a noble tradition of "tribunal theatre". Thanks to its artistic director, Nicholas Kent (often working with the journalist Richard Norton-Taylor), we've been made witness to meticulous dramatic reconstructions of (among others) the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (in The Colour of Justice), the Hutton hearings (in Justifying War), the UN War Crimes Tribunal of 1996 (in Srebrenica) and the Nuremberg Trials of fifty years earlier.

There is one appalling difference between these instances and the case now up for searching scrutiny in the latest piece. There has been no trial - nor does there look to be even the prospect of one - for the men in detention at Guantanamo Bay. Or, and the piece is careful not to claim any moral superiority over the United States in this regard, for the foreign nationals who have been detained, on the certification of the Home Secretary, in Belmarsh since December 2001.

God knows, it was impossible to sit through the edited transcripts of the Lawrence Inquiry or the Nuremberg Trials without feeling deeply upset. But there was at least the feeling that justice of a kind was being seen to be done. Here, with Guantanamo (and Belmarsh prison and the prisons in Iraq) it's the stuff of your worst nightmare - a Kafkaesque situation plus the brutality thugs where there is no charge, no court of appeal, no right of unmonitored access to legal representation, and no need for the ordeal ever to be brought to an end.

With a text (compiled by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo) from spoken testimonies, Guantanamo is an eloquent indictment of the suspect political practices and mentality that have led to the creation what Lord Justice Steyn (whose Mann Lecture opens the proceedings) has called "the legal black hole". And it fulfils the major requirement of this sort of piece - that it takes us down into people's experiences at a level inaccessible to journalism.

With the stage flanked by the cage-like cells of the detainees in Cuba, the play interweaves accounts from the prisoners of the bizarre ways they came to be arrested and of soul-destroying prison life with reactions from their loved ones, a conceptually contorted press conferences from Donald Rumsfeld and the indignant analysis of the broader political import of all this (we're heading into a whole new era of social control) from liberal lawyers.

There are flashes of grim humour at the tunnel-visioned idiocy of the authorities. Just about to fly over a forensic expert from Bali, the Special Branch are foiled when the Argos catalogue convinces them that the dubious item found in the luggage is a battery charger. And you have to laugh to stop yourself weeping when you are arrested in the Gambia on suspicion of coming to blow things up, even though there is a dearth of targets in the Gambia, and besides, if you were a terrorist, you would scarcely have bothered to come through the airport when there are two hundred miles of porous border.

These stories of British and Asian Muslim, caught in a vortex of presumed guilt, are simply heartbreaking - all the most so for the restraint with which Kent's beautifully acted production presents them.

The programme prints a moving open letter from the mother of one of the men still held in Cuba. "I am not going to talk about my son's detention in Guantanamo using the sort of sentimental vernacular that is expected of an agonised mother," she announces. The production respects in all of the real-life participants what has been cruelly denied them by the Government: human dignity.

To 12 June (020-7328 1000)

Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower