Angle at the Bush
Repentance by Mediah Ahmed
Behind The Lines by Neil Daley
Directed by Blanche McIntyre
Cast includes: Shane Zaza, Ade Oyefeso, Mandeep Dhillon and Daniel Anthony
In search of writers with limited experience, Angle Theatre Company scoured the streets of West London in their quest to find new theatre voices. It led them to Mediah Ahmed and Neil Daley whose plays Repentance and Behind the Lines are playing at The Bush Theatre. While Neil has never put pen to paper (or ‘finger to keyboard’ as he puts it) Mediah has had some experience writing and once took park in a writer’s course at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre.
The evening begins with Repentance, which tells the story of a young Muslim Girl (Dhillion) who falls in love with an atheist (Oyefeso). As their love develops her faith is called into question and she must decide whether Allah is always right despite His teachings contradicting her feeling. Then follows Behind the Lines, which explores the effect on the local community after another knife related killing.
Ahmed’s previous writing experience is evident, as she has created characters and dialogue that skilfully depict her lead character’s dilemma. Using a number of short, sharp scenes she quickly established the Muslim girl’s deep-rooted faith (who is actually called girl) and how it is all too quickly tested when she begins to fall in love with her best friend. The set also adds further depth to the play as the drama is encased behind a white wall which the actors punch various holes in before each scene; this also represents the entrapment and then freedom Muslim Girl feels.
Behind the Lines starts well as Daley creates characters that are instantly recognisable to the West London audience and situations that many of us can identify with. However the play begins to lose its way towards the middle as two of the central characters frequently engage in conversations that don’t move the plot forward. Also Daley’s approach to the piece isn’t novel and unfortunately he doesn’t add anything new to a story we have so frequently have heard before.
The young cast of both plays put in some good performances in particular Mandeep Dhillon and Ade Oyefeso who do excellent jobs depicting two very contrasting characters.
Angle Theatre’s approach to finding new voices is a brilliant way of allowing those with no or little experience to have their work produced and I’m sure this isn’t the last time these two new writers will be putting pen to paper.
Info: Angle at the Bush is playing until 11th February 2012.