- Liam Hainey
- 11 August 2017
Intersectional struggles of a young gay Muslim
Sameer (Shiv Rabheru) is a young British Pakistani who finds his sexuality in conflict with his Islamic heritage: at an after-party on his 23rd birthday, he is compelled to confront the tension and recognises the problems facing queer people of colour. Writer Shafeeq Shajahan draws on Quranic verses, which Rabheru slips elegantly into casual speech, to build a poetic yet believable emotional arc as Sameer grapples with new challenges.
Shafeeq Shajahan's script is bold in addressing the relationship between Islam and homosexuality and the eloquence of the selected verses adds a cultural depth and sensitivity.
If the references to the Quran emphasise the importance of Sameer's Islamic identity, his complex relationship with Danial (Kieran McIntosh) plays a central role in how he comes to understand himself. Danial's persona shifts frequently throughout the performance, he moves from confidant to lover to existential threat rapidly and McIntosh conveys these quick tonal shifts well.
Though McIntosh and Rabheru play off each other well in conversation, they are less convincing during their moments of intimacy. These sequences lack a spark of passion which slightly deadens the sense of sexual exploration that Rabheru works so hard to create.
This is a complex story told with an elegant simplicity. Though some aspects lack polish, Rabheru's delicate performance is enough to carry it through.
C royale, until 28 Aug, 2.20pm, £10.50–£11.50 (£8.50–£9.50).