Love, Bombs & Apples arrives at the Fringe as part of Arab Arts Focus at Summerhall. A big-headed actor tries to get his end away in occupied Palestine, a Saudi writer in London ends up in prison for writing a novel so terrible it’s mistaken for a terrorist manual, and a frustrated Bradford teenager finds fanaticism in the temple of an Apple Store.
Hassan Abdulrazzak’s trilogy of monologues is broad, crude, funny and stingingly satirical. The skill of his writing lies in the reach of its grab. Around his carefully crafted comic caricatures is a crass western world of opportunistic ethical tourism, a lurid fascination with terrorism and rampantly advancing commercialism.
In ‘Bombs’, the best realised of these stories, the escalating farce deftly applies jokes about bad fiction to paranoid cliches. Director Rosamunde Hutt’s clear, uncluttered production leaves plenty of room for actor Asif Khan to do his thing and fully inhabit each character. From horned-up swagger, to fussy meticulousness, to furtive restlessness, his switches are deftly accomplished. Each role pops into life with immediate clarity. Whether locking eyes with us, or giving us fist bumps, he effortlessly pulls us into the rhythm of each tale. His energy makes Abdulrazzak’s writing sing.
The first and second stories are the strongest, with the third landing its punches too obviously. But as a whole, this is an hour of grinningly sharp comedy, grabbed by the scruff of its neck by Khan and shaken out into pointedly full-blooded laughter.