The Believers Are But Brothers by Jaavad Alipoor – The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Jaavad Alipoor explores extremism in its many forms and how the internet becomes a breeding ground for radicalisation. The play makes pertinent points about the ability of the online world to become a place of solace for those struggling with day to day life, along with how that can be exploited. There is the unusual addition of a Whatsapp group that the whole audience is added to (with people being neighbourly and sharing their screens for those without Whatsapp). It allows Alipoor to communicate with the audience throughout the show, placing us firmly within that online world. The audience builds up a little community, which is fun. There are also violent interjections direct to your phone that allows for a visceral insight into how online abuse can feel.
The play is a fairly intense viewing experience and felt particularly resonant now things like the incel community are becoming part of mainstream consciousness. It’s not always a fun experience but it is definitely worth your time. Alipoor is a skilled performer, presenting an engaging story in an interesting and unusual form.