Six weeks’ work, a ton of money and the cheapest beer you’ve ever had. All you have to do is paint Saddam Hussein’s palace and get home in time for double egg and chips.
Tonight I saw Sad Ham Productions’ More Scouse Saddam? which tells the story of a bunch of Liverpool lads who pop over to Baghdad on a decorating job. Unfortunately during their visit Iraq invade Kuwait, war is declared and they become hostages in an instant. Based on the true story of Dave Thelwell and his friends, More Scouse Saddam? is by turns hilariously funny and tragically poignant. The first half is haunted by the constant but silent and invisible presence of Saddam as the lads, and their wives back home in Liverpool, become increasingly unnerved by their situation. The second half is cleverly added to with retro TV sequences specially produced for the show projected onto the back of the stage.
Add to that the 90s clothing that no-one will admit they wore but definitely did, some epic dance moves and a couple of southerners traumatised far more by their encounter with the Liverpudlians than the Iraqi dictator and his staff, and you get a wonderfully heartbreaking comedy about ordinary people going about their ordinary lives thrown into an extraordinary situation, in a place as sunny and sandy as New Brighton, but a little bit further over the water.
Brilliantly acted, there isn’t a single cast member that can be singled out, though Saddam himself is extra special for reasons you’ll have to see it to find out.
More Scouse Saddam? can be seen again tomorrow at 7.30pm at The Casa, Liverpool priced at £10 or £8 for concessions.
Copyright, D M Day, 2017