A British Subject

3 out of 5 stars
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© Ralph Ripley A British Subject

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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Mirza Tahir Hussain grew up in Leeds. Aged 18, he visited his parents’ homeland, Pakistan, where a taxi driver pulled a gun on him but wound up dead in the ensuing struggle. Eighteen years later, Hussain was still a mere stay of execution away from the gallows on the lawn. Then Don Mackay of the Daily Mirror and his wife, actress Nichola McAuliffe, got involved.

McAuliffe’s play about their involvement tweaks events. That doesn’t matter, although a more sophisticated play might have considered the point that truth is rarely absolute. This one deals with hope, disappointment and belief, of all kinds.

It questions the role of both the tabloid press and the royal family in public life, and offers some unusual answers. And it’s surprisingly funny for a matter of life and death: McAuliffe, who plays herself (ably supported, particularly by Kulvinder Ghir in a terrifyingly quiet performance as Hussain) brings her flourishing sense of humour.

She has written a moving story, incorporating much of Mackay’s original journalism – though there are a few flaws no good editor would permit.

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