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Thursday, 22 September 2022

REVIEW: For a Palestinian at the Camden People’s Theatre

When I stood for the ovation of For a Palestinian I was in floods of tears. Which is strange, because I have not stopped smiling since. I guess it’s true what they say: it’s the things you love that bring you pain.

For a Palestinian tells the story of Wa’el Zuaiter, a Palestinian translator who moved to Italy, fell in love and brought the Palestinian struggle to the Italian people. We meet his lover Janet, his 3 eccentric flatmates, and his elderly landlady. We also meet the play’s writer himself, Bilal, and his father, mother, siblings, and immediate and extended family. Oh, and it’s a one-man show. Forgive me for not mentioning that sooner, but if I’m honest I’d forgotten that fact by about halfway through. So effortless is the charming Bilal Hasna’s transition between characters that I had to make a conscious effort to remember that the whole time it was just one man talking to himself. His performance immediately grips you and will not let you go.

Monday, 26 July 2021

REVIEW: Bigot at the Camden People’s Theatre

I don’t often watch sports on TV but when I do it’s usually on my backside on the sofa with a takeaway. I sit and I think; ‘God I’m exhausted just watching them’. Well, if Bigot was a sport, Hassan Govia and Jess Pentney of Unshaded Arts are world-class athletes. 

There’s a lot to be said about actors with stamina, and the pair didn’t let the ball drop once. Their commitment was unmatched, their passion was palpable, and Govia put in one of the best cry-on-cue shifts I’ve seen in a long-time. Whatever they were selling I was buying, which is why I’m glad they went into theatre and not sales, because otherwise, the good people of Camden would all be broke. The performances were a home run.

Although the feeling of exhaustion watching talented people do what they do best is 50% inspiring, it’s also 50% taxing. The dialogue of Bigot, an absurdist take on online cancel-culture, was a barrage of clipped, censored, back-and-forth sentences that made up an hour-long argument. I appreciate how this bizarre interchange between two users/abusers reflects the stupidity of cancel-culture, but it was a struggle to keep up with. Although the actors were limbered up to take on this verbal tennis match, I was gasping for breath. Down for the count.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

REVIEW: The Indecent Musings of Miss Doncaster 2007 at the Camden People’s Theatre

Ice-skating, cacti and a feline who catches more than a mouse are just some of The Indecent Musings of Miss Doncaster 2007. In the years since she was crowned, things haven’t quite gone to plan for Annabel York. The show is candid, and at times cuts deep, teaching us that it’s the difficult times in life that shape who we are.

York is hugely versatile, and would not be misplaced in the casts of Derry Girls, Sex Education, or Doctor Foster. Her characters, regardless of their eccentricities, are genuine and perfectly judged. Sometimes the brilliance comes by way of a glance, an eye roll or a sigh. The performance never feels forced or exaggerated, and the audience hangs on York’s every word.

Rebecca Loudon’s direction keeps a tight grip on the bubbling cocktail, ensuring the pace never drops, but also allowing a breath when the more poignant moments hit home. This is a partnership that really works, and I’d be very interested to see other collaborations between Loudon and York.
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