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It’s rare to find a play that takes a topic as challenging, provocative and potentially terrifying as terrorism and turns it into six interweaving stories that are alternatively heart breaking, hilarious, terrifying, completely compelling and thought provoking.

“You wouldn’t expect BU21, with its provocative material, to be hilarious. Some theatre puts tragedy up on the stage and it becomes horror porn – a bit indulgent – but Stuart Slade, the writer of BU21, has tried to get away from that through humour, making us laugh and at the same time chilling us to the bone. It’s a dark comedy,” explained Jeremy Waters who plays Graham, one of the six young survivors who are part of a PTSD group who come together to talk about their experiences and try to figure out a way to live with and deal with the trauma that’s been inflicted on them.

“Graham, a working class lad from London’s East end, has become quite famous, a national hero, after delivering a nationalistic dialogue down the barrel of a tv camera whilst covered in dust straight after the attack, which saw a plane hit by a surface to air missile. He becomes the figurehead of the survivors group, a media celebrity. As well as a class struggle commentary there’s the theme of how the media covers tragedies and attach hype to events. It’s a pretty hydro headed play thematically,” said Waters.

The London production, which opened to rave reviews, is up for an Offie Award (The Off West End Theatre Awards) for Best New Play and was given four stars by The Guardian.

BU21 makes its Sydney debut at Newtown’s Old 505 Theatre thanks to NYC-founded company Outhouse Theatre, continuing their mission to produce challenging, contemporary work. (MS)

Feb 8–25, Tues-Sat 8pm. The Old 505 Theatre, 5 Eliza Street, Newtown. $30-$40. Tickets & info: www.old505theatre.com 

BY MEL SOMERVILLE