Adelaide Fringe 2015
Mush and Me
Holden Street Theatres
Venue: Holden Street Theatres – The Arch
Festival: Adelaide Fringe
Me is a part-time non-Orthodox English-Jewish atheist. Mush is a mostly full-time first-generation English-Muslim. Girl meets boy at work and falls—well, they just keep on flailing—until they land …
Gabby is a solicitor-in-waiting working at a call-centre. Mush is her employee of the month competitor, “a cheeky boy” or Mr Darcy wannabe. Their predominantly faith-based societal pressures are incendiary on stage. Mush and me is housed, this Adelaide Fringe, in Holden Street Theatres’ The Arch complete with churchlike stained-glass windows – the perfect setting. Karla Crome’s witty, precise, on-the-pulse script opens up a social commentary on modern-day Britain comparable to a Jane Austen novel. But, this is no Bridget Jones. Equality is a major theme.
Daniella Isaacs as Gabby is outstanding. Her portrayal is splendid throughout the entire production. Hers is a finely honed performance. Jaz Deol as Mush comes into his own—in a performance perhaps a little less cocky than his character to begin with—throughout the course of the play. And then, he is gold. The narrative is exemplary; at times Banham’s direction of intimacy in a burgeoning romantic relationship is over-shadowed by the fractious themes of the play. I felt a more delicate touch to the growing intimate chemistry was occasionally needed.
However, the seamless scene transitions incorporated into the work’s narrative hit the mark every time. White Ikea-looking square storage units make up the set, they are cleverly decorated with ever-changing significant items – even a non-kosher, haram half-masticated hamburger makes an appearance. The units are also transformed by an intelligent use of lighting design to create subtle backdrops. A distracting background noise track—in the bar scene—needs to be rejigged. I initially thought it was external noise near the theatre. There was the odd costuming anomaly too.
This is a work of excellence. A depiction of star-crossed lovers doesn’t get much better than this. The whole audience sat with bated breath until curtain call, and even then I forgot to breathe. Breathtaking. Believe me, it’s unmissable.