Review by anonymousJune 13, 2018 certified reviewer
What I liked
The staging – the stark white gorgeous shapes of the period dress, contrasting to the ominous niqab, which was placed, weirdly, center stage on a dummy, looked beautiful but troubled me because it felt like the direction was desperately over compensating, putting the muslim character in high tops and western clothes at all times, keeping the burqa, which was clearly a sign of extremism throughout this play, away from her.
What I didn't like
My overall impression
Artfully directed and lit. Bravely acted – particularly by bree fernicke, whose accent was impeccable. Laila Abdo had issues with the Ipswich accent, frequently pronouncing muslim as mooslim which was distracting. However, my main issue with this play was simply that it came across as a very superficial rendering of what a middle aged man imagines about the female experience – made even worse by the too-daring choice to take on the experience of a female jihadi. It came across as clumsy, surface level and often cartoonish. Real psychological insight or research was lacking. I was very confused by this play and its acclaim. It seemed like a white liberal 101 guide to brown people, and frequently strayed into racist stereotypes. It’s always so uncomfortable when men imagine what it’s like to be a woman – particularly a brown woman. I was unsure why we never placed the muslim character in a niqab. It was as if it might blow the western mind a bit too much – my god! Brown people in burqa are human? Keep that burqa safely dehumanized lest we become contaminated! Plenty of women take hijab and niqab without being jihadis or extremists.