Culture Wars, The Institute of Ideas
24 May 2006
Majnoun is a deliciously subtle set of scenes exploring the conflict between imposed modernity and the Islamic traditions of Iran in the 1920s… It is sophisticated, confronting the past wrongs through humour and providing context for careful thought…moments of genius are pleasingly frequent.
09 May 2006
Playful, absurdist and comic...(Majnoun) is so deftly staged, so appealingly performed and has such high production values it is impossible not to like.
12 Apr 2006
Through a series of fragmented episodes, arresting images and various songs, we are given a taste of what modernisation and western influence meant to a nation steeped in tradition.... Leslie Travers' imaginative set springs surprises, the 3 actors give engaging performances and the music is stirring - most memorably Roxana Pope gives a thrilling rendition of Seyf's original composition "Leili". A tantalising evening.
10 Apr 2006
What's more unexpected is the sheer childlike playfulness of the show: the fragmented comic surrealism of its style; the obsession with food and movies; the sexy banter between an Iranian girl and her English boyfriend. This is a vital show that raises all the key issues about relations between Iran and the West, and has the slightly self-conscious, in-joke charm of a piece that means a great deal to those whose experience it reflects, but which is only now setting out to be tested in front of the wider audience that so desperately needs to see it.
09 Apr 2006
Before the start of Majnoun, I'd have said dramatic odds were heavily in favour of a worthy plod across the quagmires of cultural divide – news that the piece was performed in both Farsi and English didn't suggest a barrel of laughs. But 30 Bird Productions had several aces up their sleeve that trumped my doubts: a roguishly clever script (by director Mehrdad Seyf), a cast of three gifted, versatile players, a set cunningly rooted in farce (lots of sudden little trapdoors and spy holes) and a tremendously uplifting belief in absurd humour as a valuable conduit for serious themes and provocative questions.