It's not often that actors are assaulted on stage by enraged members of the audience.
But when the show touches on a subject as complex and conflicting as the war between Israel and Palestine then perhaps it’s not entirely surprising.
Even so, actor and singer Nir Paldi, the Israeli-born writer, director and leading character, was shocked when he was attacked during a performance of Ballad of the Burning Star, which tells the story of a Jewish boy’s struggle to come to terms with the conflict.
Nir, who is a member of the multi-cultural Theatre Ad Infinitum, explained: “A member of the Jewish British community grabbed me in the middle of the performance, pulled my dress and started correcting the things he thought I’d said. He just couldn’t wait until the show was over,” says Nir.
Ballad of the Burning Star was completed in time for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year and enjoyed a successful tour this spring. However, its current tour, which only began last week and will include Calderdale, is likely to be much more high profile and controversial, given that the problems in the Middle East have escalated, with Israel now widely being criticised in the West as the main aggressor.
Nir, who has incorporated autobiographical elements into the musical play, says he has approached the dark subject matter of the crisis in his homeland with every theatrical trick at his disposal. It is an unusual and lively concoction of cabaret, drag, storytelling, songs and music.
Had he written it this year Nir believes he would have had more to say about the mass slaughter of Palestinian civilians that has taken place in recent weeks.
He explained: “It has a strong anti-occupancy message but with half a million people now homeless the situation has become even more complex. We may have to do a few more tweaks to the show.
“My main aim was to create a discussion and we have tried very hard to create a balanced piece, not a political manifest. But I am expressing opinions and passing judgements on Israel and the Israeli government. I am looking at the Israeli psyche and why it is possible for the government to continue committing atrocities for so many years.
“As Jewish Israelis we are brought up on the belief that we are always persecuted, that all non-Jews are against us and that a second holocaust is about to erupt at any moment.
“In Israel, the victim identity is present everywhere, but what is rarely talked about is the fact that Israel has become an occupier – that we are also persecutors. This leaves Israelis feeling a deep-rooted discord between being the victim, historically, and being the persecutor, in a modern-day reality.
“The piece gets a wide array of reactions. Pro Palestinians say it is too pro-Israeli and pro-Israelis say it is too pro-Palestinian. Some people say it is too balanced.
“The fact is that it is difficult to paint people as black or white. And there is no simple solution, I know this as someone who lived there for most of my life.”
At some venues the cast holds a post-performance discussion with the audience but Nir is uncertain whether this will take place after the show when it comes to the Square Chapel Centre for the Arts in Halifax on September 25.
There’s no doubt that Ballad of the Burning Star tackles the topic of occupation in an extraordinary and experimental manner.
Nir performs as a drag queen, leading his cabaret troop through a story of victimhood, persecution, aggression and love.
It will be one of this year’s most memorable theatrical productions in the area.
Tickets can be booked through www.squarechapel.co.uk or from the box office on 01422 349422.