Hannah and Hanna (3 stars)

This article is from 2015.

Hannah and Hanna

Two 16-year-olds transcend community tensions in Margate, 1999

If this debut production is anything to go by, CultureClash theatre company has a bright future ahead of it. John Retallack's Hannah and Hanna is set in Margate in 1999, when tensions erupted between the local community and incoming Kosovan refugees. Egged on by her boyfriend Bull, 16-year-old Hannah joins in the racist taunting and publicly harangues recent Kosovan arrival Hanna.

But when Hanna's brother is injured in a fight, Hannah's family helps him and the two girls – and their families – become friends, despite the community tensions that surround them, bonding over Smash Hits and Natalie Imbruglia's 'Torn'.

Cassandra Hercules and Serin Ibrahim – who founded CultureClash – impress as Hannah and Hanna; they're full of energy and raw talent. The ambitions of their theatre company (to make work that is politically and socially aware) are admirable too, and here they're supported by the guiding professional hand of Greenwich Theatre.

Its cultural reference points might have dated, but Retallack's play feels as relevant now as when it was written 14 years ago. And if CultureClash continue to engage with work as intelligently as they do here, there's a lot to look forward to.

Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, until 30 Aug, 1.20pm, £9–£11.

Hannah and Hanna

Catherine Wheels presents the tale of two 16 year-olds - one from Kosovo, one from Margate. Can the emerging friendship bear the test of bigotry that surrounds them? Recommended for S1/2 pupils.

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