DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Freedom Project – Leeds Playhouse

Reviewer: Christopher Holmes

Writer: Luke Barnes

Freedom project may be a little rough around the edges but beneath the fluffed lines and memory lapses lies something really special.

This research project, still in previews, shows promise and is a tragic story of hope and home. The no-holds-barred staging is impactful and the additional use of lighting and sound brings real drama to the space. The small fringe venue is the perfect setting and has an almost abandoned skate-park feel to it. Blue muslin cloths hang from the lighting rig giving an air of the sea and the intimacy makes the piece feel real and, in parts, it is really quite harrowing. This is a two-hander and one is immediately drawn into the reality and lived experiences of two refugees.

Hossein Ahmadi and Mohammadreza Bazarbashi are excellent and full of joy as they share their personal stories and experiences which, in contrast, have universal themes. With friendships like these one should never look further than one’s own backyard. Whichever side of the fence you sit on in this ongoing political debate you cannot help but feel warmed and moved by their tales and by the gritty reality of those seeking asylum in the U.K. The play is a real work in progress, but it is lovingly and sincerely devised. One could argue that (given the recent seismic events in Afghanistan lately) the play doesn’t sit well in the shadow of militarised patriarchal misogyny and has an uncomfortable resonance at this time but alas, this show is just what we need right now.

Freedom Project is a one act play developed from an idea conceived in collaboration with Young Vic Theatre Taking Part. Written by Luke Barnes in response to research with young people seeking asylum this marvellous and riveting play is both gripping and beautifully shocking.

Runs until 18th September 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

Beautifully Shocking

The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. 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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One Comment

  1. Leeds is a compassionate city, a true multicultural and diverse city , a city of sanctuary for all …the young men are product of Leeds, I found the performance to be very emotional, energetic, engaging and full of enthusiasm and positive energy of youth and optimism … Hossein lived in Beeston with my good friends Sally and Steve who love him like their own son and helped him get his stay in the UK.
    I wish both the young artists best of luck for future .

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