Stage Review 44J

September 5th, 2011
 
Menagerie Theatre Company

Farce, comedy and physical theatre combine to provide both a smooth blend and an explosive mix in Menagerie Theatre Company’s excellent examination of the reality of life for those of the various religions which have an interest in the West Bank.

The company’s physical style of story-telling, choreographed with flair and precision by Patrick Morris, throws you straight into the tale. Michael is on a mission to film the Holy Lands for his church’s Sunday School class, his naive blundering fuelled in no small part by a desire to please his estranged wife.
Paul Brendan is utterly believable as Michael, as his naivety takes him away from the tourist track and into the hills of the occupied territories. Here he encounters Chandrika Chevli’s humanitarian observer Izzy – and her Arab academic Dr Reem – Josh Becker’s Palestinian farmer Fouad and Emma Beattie’s very-pregnant settler, Rachel.
Without going into the complexities of the whole Arab-Israeli conflict, Richard Fredman’s script succeeds, in what ends up as a tall tale of a taxi ride shared by the conflicting characters, in highlighting exactly how complex the whole situation is. There can be no happy ending, if veracity is to be maintained, and Fredman ensures that there is none, while keeping the energy high in getting there.

Review by Thom Dibdin
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