Chagos 1971

Theatre (comedy, political)

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  • ZOO Playground - Playground 3
  • 16:10
  • Aug 26
  • 50 minutes
  • Suitability: 14+ (Restriction)
  • Country: United Kingdom - Scotland
  • Group: Black Bat Productions
  • Warnings and additional info: Contains Strong language/swearing
  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


This is a bizarre, unbelievable, but true story – and a darkly hilarious play. In 1971, representatives of the US and UK governments made a heinous decision somehow still unheard of in either society today. After promising the Chagos Archipelago to the Americans a few years earlier, the British government opted to clear the indigenous people living there using a truly bizarre method. Chagos 1971 tells that story, by combining the factual beats of the real events (they get stranger) with an Armando Iannucci-style snappiness and farcical level of cutthroat comedy. ***** (

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Through main door and down a short corridor
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
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  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Ruby Jones 83 days ago

I had a wonderful experience here today at the Fringe.On impulse I attended a black comedy and wasn’t expecting too much.
But what a surprise!It was carefully scripted and sardonic with contemporary satire on an old political crisis.
The cast devoured the script and produced a passionate performance full of humour and intensity.
I would wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone for entertainment and food for thought.

The Godfather 85 days ago

Chagos 1971 is an unusual, brilliant, thought provoking and highly amusing show about an extraordinary event in Britain's colonial history. The script is well structured and clever - with perhaps more f***ing than is strictly necessary or historically appropriate - and the cast is first rate throughout - with the female members rather out shining their male counterparts. I gather the show will be on in London in September and should be a great success there too. Well done Black Bat!

Lesley Warner 90 days ago

This fast-paced show by a talented young cast depicts the terrible injustice done to the Chagos islanders who were forcibly removed from their homes and deported in 1971 as the UK government were cosying up the the Americans by giving them a supposedly uninhabited Indian Ocean island to use as an airbase. Humour is used to mitigate the truly appalling methods used to force the islanders to leave. The play would benefit from an Afterword which tells the audience that this scandal is still going on. The Chagossians have still not been allowed to return home despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice in February this year and a UN resolution in May, and while some Chagossians were sent to Mauritius, many of them, along with their children, are now living in unsatisfactory temporary accommodation in Crawley.

Theodore Weir 94 days ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this performance.
A really well thought out and written storyline with a great cast. Terry and Sarah had an incredible repartee and really made the performance for me. Overall a great show and would really recommend to anyone and everyone!

Pauline 95 days ago

A very good play from this young troupe. Well acted and staged.

Bob 96 days ago

An excellent play on a very interesting topic. The acting was phenomenal and the inter-character dynamics made the play immersive and engaging. The American Admiral was a particular highlight and Sarah and Terry’s relationship was hilarious. Five stars, no doubt and I will be telling all my friends to come see it!

Danny 99 days ago

It was really good and funny - I really enjoyed the dynamic relationships between characters. The writing was brilliant and the acting was great. Loved the intimate room - made you feel the stress of the meeting!

Sandra 99 days ago

Both hilarious and shocking, especially when one remembers it is based on a true story.
A thoroughly enjoyable play that utilised humour and what was, in my opinion, a gripping storyline to provide a well balanced audience experience. One leaves feeling thoughtful of both past and present political events, without feeling weighed down due to the lighthearted comedy interspersed throughout. I also enjoyed the gender dynamics put forward through the relationship between Terry and the ginger woman (I forget her name), a very clever plot point.
All in all would recommend to anyone - my congratulations to the writer, a very clever play!

Greg 102 days ago

A retelling of a little known historical event that has reverberations today in Windrush, with civil servants coming to their own more ludicrous positions based on own self-interests.

The tightness of the set gives the audience the same constrictions making you feel you’re in the meeting.

Impactful as a drama, less convincing as a comedy, felt like it needed a Malcolm Tucker/Ollie Reeder type dynamic to draw comedy out of this in contrast to the ultimately tragic subject matter.

Go if you want a good political drama this fringe.

Juju 102 days ago

Ok but a cooler space would have made it almost a good show. Poor costumes, overacting and dull content detracted from the good elements.

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The List (3/5 stars) 84 days ago

Shameful British history re-visited in this dark political satire...

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Ed Fringe Review (5/5 stars) 85 days ago

Fantastically cerebral and high-octane satire on ramshackle diplomacy...

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Ed Fringe Review (5/5 stars) 85 days ago

Brutal, shocking and hilarious...

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British Theatre Guide (3/5 stars) 85 days ago

This year, yet another major world body ruled the UK out of order in its treatment of the Chagos Islands. This time it was the International Court of Justice of the United Nations ruling against Britain, which will no doubt continue to ignore international law and any sense of justice.Black...

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The Wee Review (3/5 stars) 88 days ago

A shameful, but under-reported, episode in Britain’s colonial history was the forced removal of nearly 2,000 Chagossians from their archipelago home in the Indian Ocean to make way for a United States military base there. Still well within living memory, it’s an early example of how the UK’s post-war alignment...

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Deadline News (3/5 stars) 88 days ago

With a little more finessing Chagos 1971 might be to the neo-colonialism what Dr Strangelove is to the Cold War.

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Edinburgh Festivals Magazine (4/5 stars) 88 days ago

Britain is quite hushed about its imperial past. Just over a century ago it ran the largest empire in human history; the societies of over a fifth of the world’s population were plundered for their culture, la...

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All Edinburgh Theatre (3/5 stars) 91 days ago

Chagos 1971, writer-director Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller’s new work for Black Bat Productions at Zoo Playground, deals with important events in a way that is uneven but has a great deal going for it. The forced removal of the Chagos islanders at the doup-end of the British Empire is a little-known but...

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FringeReview 98 days ago

The formula used to tell the story is one which takes it down a route that is not entirely successful. We begin with Chagos natives who are sweltering in the heat. From there we get the British stiff upper lip stereotypes who are incompetent and in fear of an American...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.