This isn’t going to be your typical theatre review I’m afraid folks. It may turn into one of my political rants, though I’ll try and restrain myself from that. Then again, A Lizards Tale is not a typical Theatre show anyway. It is, however perfectly suited to a fringe festival, not least of all because the people who need to see it are those politically engaged liberal left creatives who tend to make up audiences for fringe festivals, some of whom seriously need to see it.
A Lizards Tale is the conclusion of creator Marlon Solomon’s personal research into the origins of conspiracy theory and its inexorable path into Anti-Semitic ideology. It’s pertinent at the moment, indeed the show is generated by the recent problems surrounding anti-Semitism within the left wing of politics through uncompromising criticisms of Israel being used as a mask for a more sinister world view.
Solomon presents the Lizards Tale as part lecture, part stand-up comedy routine. He injects loads of humour into proceedings which may help to keep onside those in the audience who might otherwise be unwilling to accept his inconvenient truths. There’s even a bit of song, basing the lyrics around some of the abusive social media comments he’s received. It’s almost a jolly good laugh until you realise the seriousness of the problems Solomon is trying to address.
He’s Jewish and he’s never really paid that much attention to that aspect of his heritage until he started seeing anti-jewish articles on social media and hearing comments from friends who were parroting some of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that Solomon addresses through the show. He highlights some of the most notorious anti-Semitic conspiracists operating in Britain including David Icke (sell out stadium tours) and Richie Allen (Manchester radio host) and ultimately asks the question of why these people are able to get away with such racism when other forms of racism such as islamophobia would be called out by anti-racism campaigners.
Solomon swiftly knocks down some of the most overt conspiracy theories with ease and challenges the audience to confront their own outlooks on world politics. It’s intelligent, entertaining and insightful. He’s performed this in the House of Commons to the Home Affairs Select Committee and at various other political events sporting his “Zionist Shitlord” t-shirt, one of the more memorable pieces of abuse he’s taken for speaking out on this issue, bravely taking ownership of the phrase.
Despite recent high profile political incidents around anti-Semitism Solomon avoids any temptation to be partisan, he doesn’t go into too much detail about Israeli/Arab politics which undeniably plays a role in current left wing political discourse but then he’s only got an hour and a half and a lot of other things to cover.
Everybody will learn something from this show, that’s quite clear. You will be challenged, this is also quite clear. Solomon is touring this show around the country trying to get the message out to as many people as possible. If you get chance to see to somewhere the do so.
Reviewer: Karl Barnsley
Reviewed: 26th July 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★