Horizon Showcase: Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World @ Traverse

Javaad Alipoor's latest piece is a thought-inspiring and mind-boggling attempt to explore the murder of legendary Iranian popstar Fereydoun Farrokhzad

Review by Charlotte Chapman | 24 Aug 2023
  • Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

Following two Fringe First-winning shows, Javaad Alipoor's showcase this year is just as visually stunning and mind-bending as his regular viewers have come to expect. Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World incorporates visually stunning multimedia elements into a murder mystery podcast format to shine a light on the death of Fereydoun Farrokhzad, conveniently described as the 'Iranian Tom Jones'. While the production centres around this mystery, the show is really an interrogation of investigation itself. It aims to show the audience how, in this age of information, our ability to truly grasp knowledge is distorted by satisfying Wikipedia deepdives and endless podcasts that present their own version of events, wrapped up with a neat little bow.

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World challenges us to look to the periphery of society in the global North – to acknowledge subaltern groups and their invisibility to a majority who have no need to look for them. While the core questions posed on stage are fascinating and deeply relevant to Alipoor and his cast, the audience are at points exhausted by the inertia of theories, facts, and falsehoods. This is Alipoor's point, though he makes it more than once. Toward the end of the production, it becomes difficult to reconcile the dissatisfying ambivalence of truth with the viewer's genuine desire to solve the mystery at hand, having been so enthralled by the sinister staging and powerful storytelling.

What does come through all the buzz and confusion is a genuine call to those in political exile, and any who experience the yearning for a cultural homeland to which they cannot return. The emotional beats on this front are earnest, well-deserved, and deeply moving. Viewers are sure to be gripped by powerful musicians who encourage us to doubt the authority of the storyteller, an especially relevant message in the modern age in which media is king, and where anyone with a platform can rewrite the facts.

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, Traverse Theatre (Traverse 1), until 27 Aug, various times, part of Horizon Showcase