RAH is a play written and performed by Laila Latifa. Set in the bedroom of Manal, a half-Moroccan, half-British woman in her early twenties, the play bravely depicts a history of belonging. Structured as a monologue, the script explores Manal’s internal ramblings, exposing the truth about her family, her feelings of inadequacy at university, and her difficulties navigating her sex life within the context of an overtly religious family.
Written by Nimrod Danishman, Borders explores the relationship of two young men who meet on Grindr, one is in Israel, and the other in Lebanon. Although deeply affected by political circumstances, their digital relationship strengthens against all odds. I spent an afternoon in a rehearsal ahead of the run at VAULT Festival 2023, after looking at the show from the sidelines for some years now.
George Floyd’s murder in 2020 was the catalyst for worldwide Black Lives Matter protests against systemic racism. Though at the time white governments, institutions and individuals made loud commitments to fight racial injustice, there has been a lack of meaningful change since then. By drawing on numerous recent and historical acts of violence against Black people, theatremaker Christopher Tajah’s solo performance reinforces just how deeply racism runs in white supremacist societies.
Frank Ocean fills the air, and audience members tap their feet and nod their heads in time. I jokingly ask my mum if she recognises the song as I recall how I wailed and begged about 10 years ago for her to download his album onto her iPod. Indulging in Frank Ocean’s music is like a Black right of passage. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore his range, and if you don’t – you’re lying.
“Humans should fuck the men they want, move on, no hurt feelings.”
I recently went to a play written by a white man, with an entirely white, three quarters male cast and the audience was pretty reflective of that. Well, here’s a piece by a female South East Asian writer, starring three Asian women and the room looks like we’re actually sat in London.
There are many reasons why the classics are still read and performed, with their enduring relevance one of them. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a narrative poem containing more than 250 different myths, is a wealth of flexible source material that can easily be updated and applied to modern socio-political landscapes. Here, five different myths are updated by five different playwrights to comment on a range of current topics, from #MeToo to the refugee crisis. Ranging in style and quality, the new writing night is largely well-curated and impactful.
Testosterone is an explosive, energetic, riotous exploration of all things male, asking what exactly it means to be a man.
Rhum and Clay Theatre Company has teamed up with Kit Redstone, who wrote the play based on his own experiences as a trans man, and stars as himself. We meet him as he prepares to walk in to that bastion of machismo – the men’s locker room at the gym – for the first time.
A couple who have been together for either 14 years or 3 weeks argues as the world around them threatens to collapse. Or maybe it’s collapsed already. An Uber driver writes a book about the fall of civilisation. A lonely woman in a hotel room surveys her destructive work in the financial sector.
Time passes and bends and flips. Personal and global crises unfold in an endless cycle of pain and rage.
Ignace Cornelissen’s Henry the Fifth, which was at the Unicorn Theatre in 2015, remains one of my favourite versions of that play ever. Setting King Henry’s French wars in a sandbox, Cornelissen simplified without dumbing-down the central themes of Shakespeare’s play.