Favour, Bush Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a brand new play, co-commissioned by the Bush Theatre and Clean Break Theatre Company. Clean Break was formed in 1979, and focuses on given women, who have experienced the justice and prison systems, opportunities to work and tell their stories through theatre and performance. This particular story focuses on the release of Aleena from prison, and how this release impacts her daughter Leila, who was been living with Noor, her grandmother during Aleena’s imprisonment. There is a clash of philosophies between the traditional Noor and the freer-spirited and highly strung Aleena, with family secrets threatening to come to a head.

Bolstered by its all-women of colour cast, this is an entertaining and thought-provoking family drama. Across its 90 minutes, it zips by without getting stodgy or bogged down. It’s very funny in places, with excellent and truthful dialogue. It doesn’t scrimp on the drama, either. It looks at the serious subjects of rehabilitation and religious hypocrisy. The cast is excellent overall, with Ashna Rabherus particularly good as the anxious and torn Leila.

This is another artistic success from the consistently-innovative Bush Theatre, set within a community and on subject matter rarely shown on stage. It is very well worth going out of the way to watch.

Favour runs through 6 August.

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