Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Colman Higgins’ Tourist's Guide to Terrorism

God be with the days when our representatives at the Edinburgh festival were loveable dipso comics whose drunken lisps were often mistaken for a charming Irish brogue. In 2006, it’s all gone a bit serious.

Regular readers (and irregular, but lucky readers who happened to buy the Herald one Thursday a few weeks back) will recall that Abie Philbin Bowman is taking his yank-bating show, Jesus: The Guantanamo Years to the Scottish capital’s annual entertainment tsunami. But Philbin Bowman is certainly not the only one who can conjure up a good, selling title from Third World War through which we are living.

Colman Higgins’ contribution to this year’s fringe is called A Tourist's Guide to Terrorism (site here). That title alone should ensure that all email/texts/phone calls to/from the Irish writer will, in future, be monitored by the Department of Homeland Security. And, presumably, when that title shows up on your credit card bill, you can expect your own communications to get some close attention from one or more secret police organisation.

Not that I’m trying to put anybody off checking out the show, which tells the story of a chance meeting (yeah, right, try convincing the CIA interrogator that this one is just a coincidence…) between an ex-IRA man, an American born-again Christian and the son of a Pakistani army general at a campsite near Islamabad.

Higgins, who The Scotsman previously described as “a kind of poor man's Michael Palin” (in context it appears to be meant it as a compliment) says: “Last year at Edinburgh they had a show called Terrorism! The Musical…so, I don’t think this one will cause too much commotion. It’s not a flippant show anyway. It is really about individuals and their response to world events. It’s about the question of how ordinary people respond to violence…”

For those brave enough to be caught at the show, there was a sneak preview this month at Filmbase, before the production moves to Edinburgh in August.

And remember: only the guilty need fear.

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