DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Where We Began – Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax

Writer: Rosie MacPherson

Director: Hannah Butterfield

Reviewer: Rich Jevons

Stand and Be Counted (SBC), UK’s first ‘Theatre Company of Sanctuary’, follow their 2016 production Tanja with a further examination of the flaws in the immigration system and the treatment of asylum seekers taken to its own inevitably nightmarish end.

Shireen Farkhoy as The Transition Guide (Persian British Actor) is a lady in red (a colour that suits the red tape she propounds) with a clipboard and full of officialdom. She makes the entire proceedings seem apparently rational despite the system’s obvious lunacy and total lack of humanity.
Zoe Katsilerou as The Traveller (Greek Physical Performer & Singer), has a passion for all things Glaswegian. It really makes you think about what is ‘home’, is it the place you really care about or simply your birthplace? 

Fernanda Mandagará as The Imposter (Brazilian Actress, Writer, Director & Producer), spouts a plethora of political plaudits and is seriously deranged in her delivery. Rosie MacPherson as The Terrorist (British Playwright & Performer), is horrified by the notion of borders and just as much as the others suffering deeply from this unjust system. And Tafadzwa Muchenje as The Real One (Zimbabwean Performer & Dancer) recounts his own real-life struggle against deportation.

Hannah Sibai’s set design is like an immaculately cleaned urinal and thus very inhuman and alienating. While Charlotte Woods’ lighting goes from being garish and painful to revealing more of sheer panic and danger. These ingredients produce a play that is immensely and intensely traumatic and yet somehow ultimately cathartic. Despite the moments of light relief – like when Taf stares into an audience member’s eyes for a full minute – this is a full-on onslaught of despairing and painful moments that ring so true given our current political climate with Brexit. But this ain’t agitprop, more a considered attempt to redress the wrongs that are going on right now and could lead us into an even more demonic destination. Just how far away is this dystopia?!

Touring nationwide | Image: Contributed

The Reviews Hub interviewed Tafadzwa Muchenje, here

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Traumatic and cathartic

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The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. 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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