DramaLondonReviewVAULT Festival

Arabitch – Vault Festival, London

Reviewer: Mike Wells

Writer: Sara Dawood

Director: Serafina Cusack 

This show is about an Iraqi drag queen struggling to comfortably reconcile the two opposing cultures she finds herself straddling. Or at least that what’s the synopsis implies.

Conceived by Sara Dawood and developed in collaboration with Pigs in Residence, the show is performed in a thrust setting, which readily lends itself to a more intimate cabaret-esque experience. It’s a one-way conversation between Dawood’s alter ego ‘Arabitch’ and the audience, and is a semi-autobiographical story with a little artistic licence thrown in.

On the face of it, the show has an awful lot of promise but unfortunately it fails to deliver. It was an hour of tired clichés, sweeping statements and cheap dialogue mostly devoid of original thought. The opinions and anecdotes shared were so banal they were little more than self-indulgence offering little wit, insight, or humility.

In fact, the most impressive aspect of the show was its ability to alienate every member of the audience simply because they weren’t her. Being repeatedly told that due to your race, gender, colour, or sexual orientation you are precluded from having an opinion is frankly insulting, and she would do well to learn that before subjecting anyone else to her thoughtless, baseless tirade.

Insulting opinions aside, it would be wrong to say there was nothing of any value in the show. Dawood is clearly a good lyricist and her poetic interludes showed some skill, which could possibly carry a one-hour show by itself. Unfortunately these brief moments of interest were not enough to make up for the show’s shortcomings.

It’s disappointing that such an interesting premise delivers such little value. There were glimmers of interesting ideas and concepts here and there, but they never lasted long. If this show has any legs it has to consider what it’s trying to say and to whom.

Runs until 1st March

The Reviews Hub Score


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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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