Adelaide Fringe 2016
An exceptional play: the writing and acting balance perfectly.
Holden Street Theatres are just beautiful. Set in a former church, parking is easy and the area is friendly and safe. With a beautiful little wine bar and a food cart on site, the evening was always going to go well. We were guided to our seats by the most friendly of assistants and the room was attractive with good views of the stage from every comfortable seat.
The writing of this piece is just superb. At times witty and amusing, at times bitter and emotional, I laughed and cried through the hour long production. Set in Ipswich, of all places, the play follows the two pathways of two believers, one Christian, one Muslim, 175 years apart. Their lives are absolutely in parallel and the links are extraordinary and powerful.
Felicity Houlbrooke and Filipa Braganca hold the audience through every second of the play. Whether sharing the voices of their husbands or sharing their own truths, they live and breathe their complex situations. They are ordinary women in extraordinary situations. In each case they act out of love and take a form of colonial path to the East: each fights sexism, religious persecution and torture. They both make the ultimate sacrifice to regain their independence and freedom for themselves and for others. Their focus is absolute and they held the audience in their hands. Clever lighting supports each joint in the play and the simple monochrome costumes enhance their differences and then subvert those differences absolutely.
This is an astonishingly powerful play on an utterly contemporary theme, which still carries resonances of history. Culturally and politically important, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It simply requires thought of its audience and the audience leaves changed by it: emotionally and spiritually. It promotes tolerance by giving the silenced a voice. It challenges glib politics through wit and wisdom.
If you can possibly get to this show, do so. The entire experience is powerful and moving. The message needs to be heard.