Adam (5 stars)

This article is from 2017


credit: David Monteith-Hodge

Deeply moving realisation of Adam Kashmiry's trans experience

When we first meet modern-day Adam, he is alone and ruminating on the complexities of language. 'In Arabic, our words are either masculine or feminine', he notes. English, in comparison, doesn't address gender but speaks to 'the soul of the person'. He is eventually joined on stage by Egyptian Adam, the female incarnation of our title character, who admonishes him for disparaging their mother tongue. In these few opening exchanges between the two Adams, we are given a striking glimpse into the internal intricacies of a character tormented by opposing forces of gender, sexuality and home.

Adam is a true story of journeys; from Egypt to Glasgow, female to male and border to border. Condemned for his desire to live freely and openly in his native Alexandria, Adam flees to Glasgow with the intent of seeking asylum. It is here, in the confines of a cramped Glasgow flat that he experiences an epiphany. 'Can the soul of a man be trapped in a woman?', he types nervously into his laptop and suddenly the answer is visible and real for the first time.

This moment is amplified in power and emotion through the presence of the Adam World Choir, which features the voices of 120 trans and non-binary individuals from around the world. Their stories and messages of hope provide the comfort and reassurance that sets Adam's transition in motion, providing him with the impetus to embrace his true self.

In Frances Poet's script and Cora Bissett's direction, there is an innate sensitivity, which comes through emphatically in the outstanding performances of Adam Kashmiry and Neshla Caplan. In particular, their sharp mirroring of one another symbolises the competing impulses at play within a body and mind in transition.

With an extraordinary story at its heart, Adam is ultimately a compelling piece of theatre, which seeks to fully interrogate the challenges of the trans experience.

Traverse, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), times vary, £21.50 (£16.50).


  • 5 stars

A remarkable, true story of a young trans man fleeing from Egypt to Scotland. Presented by National Theatre of Scotland.