Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction and that's how I preambled my review of The Great Wave at the National Theatre back in 2018.
It was based on real events in the 1970s and 1980s when North Korean agents abducted ordinary people from Japanese beaches in order to steal their identities or learn the Japanese language and culture.
The play follows two sisters one who has been abducted and the other left behind living with her sister's sudden disappearance. It's a nail-biting, emotional roller coaster of a play that brought to life events I had no knowledge of.
Which is your favourite play based on real events?
The Great Wave is one of several plays based on real events I've really enjoyed over the years, here are some other notable mentions:
Enron, Noel Coward Theatre - Took a very dry subject and made it interesting and entertaining - bonus points for velociraptors and light sabres.
This House, National Theatre - a dusty 1970s political crisis given a high-energy makeover by writer James Graham and director Jeremy Herrin.
The Angry Brigade, Watford Palace Theatre - Another James Graham play this time based on a youth protest organisation The Angry Brigade which drew parallels with the rise of youth activism in the 2010s.
Ink, Almeida Theatre - A feisty play about Ruper Murdoch's takeover of The Sun and how editor Larry Lamb not only turned it around but shaped British media. It was a corker.
And you can find The Great Wave review here.
One play based on real-life events that I didn't get on with so much was The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre. It wasn't a case of disliking it, I was just a bit 'meh' about it. If you draw parallels with Enron which is similarly set in the world of finance it wasn't as compelling. You can find my mini-review here.
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