This page relates to the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe run of the play. For The 2019 Fringe production see
'Bismillah! 2019'. for the 2018 VAULT fest, Pleasance Islington run or national tour, see 'Bismillah! 2018'.
Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy
Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy was first staged by Wound Up in 2015 as a Edinburgh Fringe show where it enjoyed enormously positive feedback and was listed for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
None of the subsequent development of the company would have been possible without this watershed production.
For information on the 2018 production, see the Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy 2018 page.
'Dean joined the army, Danny joined the Islamic State, Bismillah! is their hour together in a basement in northern Iraq. Exploring the strange new reality of youth in modern day Britain, it is a play about radicalisation, disenfranchisement and the rock band Queen. This new, unique tragicomedy tackles everything from racism to fundamentalism to the rising price of a standard meal deal. All this under the constant violent threat of the Militant ISIS commander “Babs”.'
This was the company's second production and second show we have taken to the Fringe, and was critically acclaimed thanks to the amazing team of creatives that helped us realise the project:
Five Stars - "One of the best shows I have ever seen at the Fringe or anywhere else... a dazzlingly intelligent script. Greenhough has clearly researched contemporary academic views on terrorism. This is a fiercely intelligent, masterfully acted theatrical treat, which prompts tears of both laughter and sympathy."
The List -
Four Stars - "Wound Up Theatre Company tackle ISIS in this outstanding tragicomedy - A comedy about Islamic State might seem to be in bad taste,
yet, Powerful, hilarious and gripping – the comedy does not obscure the high stakes of the content. Bismillah! is a daring testament to what a small company can achieve with a bit of talent, intelligence and heart."
This production marked Wound Up Theatre's first bold and ambitious project, setting for the standard for all which followed. It was recognised as such by The Guardian when Mark Lawson described the fringe show as "Bold and thought-provoking" in an article about the Islamic State being represented at the Fringe
We were endorsed by the BBC by Nihal Arthanayake, who we got to speak to live on his show on the BBC Asian Network during our run at the Fringe.
The show has been the subject of a feature in The National, the Middle East's biggest English language newspaper by Anna Aslanyan, who summed up our social aims of our play perfectly with her closing lines: “We are not trying to preach – we want to be part of a dialogue,” says Greenhough. Laughing with the audience, you realise that the dialogue has already started, and you are part of it.”
As a fresh faced young company we were overwhelmed by what this project managed to achieve through it's small run on the fringe 2015. We remain incredibly proud of this run and what it meant for the company.