Alien Land, VAULT Festival

https://i2.wp.com/london.carpediem.cd/data/afisha/o/43/9b/439beb7829.jpg

by Laura Kressly

Saeed is a Bedouin Palestinian refugee, currently in prison. With no one to speak to, his imagination conjures all sorts of beings and memories. He tells the walls his family history and remembers an old man, a donkey, and and a faceless alien. But this disjointed piece takes too long to come together, and the chosen style confuses and disorientates rather than fully rallies the audience to his side.

Momin Swaitat demonstrates a high level of physical performance skill, easily differentiating characters. His transitions are quick and well-lit, and his mask work engaging. He is undoubtedly a compelling performer. But too much of the time, there is not enough exposition to justify these characters and the stories they share.

The best moments are near the end of the piece where enough backstory has been built up to allow audience empathy. Though there is a clear live art influence in the work, more narrative – episodic or linear – would strengthen the dramaturgical goals. The character’s feelings of alienation in his homeland eventually emerge, but too late to have significant impact.

With a more focused structure and additional context earlier in the work, Alien Land will draw in a wider audience base and more clearly communicate the rich stories and experiences underpinning the show. There are important statements buried in oblique, vague references and metaphors that are a shame to miss.

Alien Land runs through 28 January.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s