National Youth Theatre @ St James's Church
The main story is of Yasmin, a 20-something year old who lives by herself and works as a cleaner to try and make ends meet. Near the beginning of the play, she finds herself taking in Rabea, a Syrian refugee. The audience then watches a unique relationship form between the two. However, at the same time, there is another very complicated story concerning Yas and her three sisters who have financial debts and go to her for help. Through a series of altercations between Yas and her sisters, the audience discover Yas's difficult back story. Perhaps it was included to give more depth to her character, but the issues explored, such as her feeling out of place as mixed race in a white family and the agony she felt after losing her mother to cancer, are much too deep to be covered only briefly. For me, this side story which has the potential to be extremely powerful, was covered too quickly to really have an affect on me. The main story with Rabea, however, was written wonderfully well and was incredibly moving.
The actors (all members of the National Youth Theatre) were of a high standard. Rebekah Murrell as Yas was really brilliant, commanding the stage all the time she was on it. I only wish that the script had provided her with more opportunities to show different sides to the character and be more than just angry and defensive. In my eyes, the star of the show was Zakaria Douglas-Zerouali as Rabea. He was so truthful and created such a lovable character, really drawing the audience into the story. It has to be said that he did have a much greater opportunity with his character as he had a journey and a story that were much more manageable in the time-frame. The chemistry between him and Rebekah Murrell created such a believable relationship - their scenes together were definitely the highlight of the show.
At times I thought that the dialogue was too forced, just to get out a story without running over 90 minutes. But then again when this was not happening, I was entirely taken in by the wonderful story-telling from these young talents. On the whole another great show from The National Youth Theatre.