Knock Knock (4 stars)

Knock Knock

Powerful one-man show about a single mum raising her only son in the war-ravaged Middle East

Niv Petel starts his one-man show with a startling mime depiction of a wounded man sewing up his own injuries, humming sweetly between pained grimaces when the needle enters his skin. This juxtaposition between sweetness and painful reality lies at the heart of this solo show, as Petel portrays a single mother in a Middle East country where military service is compulsory.

The majority of the show has Petel performing as Ilana, addressing the audience as if they are her son Elad. Ilana works as an army liaison officer, visiting bereaved families who've lost their sons and daughters, and the 'knock knock' of the title refers to the knock at the door that brings that terrible news. The narrative jumps through Elad's life, beginning when he is a baby until he reaches the age where he too must undergo service, and Petel portrays Ilana's fear of this approaching inevitability with realistic vulnerability. These scenes are punctuated with short physical sequences that, unfortunately, are slightly jarring rather than shocking as they were intended.

Though the premise of the play lacks subtlety, Petel is undoubtedly a powerful performer who has little difficulty holding an audience's attention, and the line between the personal and the political is drawn well enough that it is hard not to be moved.

C primo, until 28 Aug (not 14), 19.30pm, £8.50--£10.50 (£6.50--£8.50).

Knock Knock

  • 4 stars

Niv Petel Humorously and poignantly, Niv Petel’s physical solo uses a unique point of view to draw back the thick curtain of politics in the Middle East. Inspired by real events, Knock Knock celebrates the life, laughter, joy and love of a single mother, giving everything she can to raise her only son in a place where…

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