Submission (3 stars)

This article is from 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. Submission's writer draws on Quranic verses, which his lead slips elegantly into casual speech, to build a poetic yet believable emotional arc as Sameer grapples with new challenges.

The 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).


  • 3 stars

Liver and Lung Productions Sameer, a young British Pakistani, struggles to reconcile his sexual desires with his Islamic roots and values. On his 23rd birthday, Sameer hosts an unprecedented after-party with friends. A series of unwelcome events unfold, triggering an unhinged response in Sameer. Not only does he begin…


1. Mr Ali20 Aug 2017, 11:06pm Report

August 20, went to see this today and while being aware of the highly complex subject matter and the potential sensitivities that would need to be addressed in its execution it was something I was intrigued and looking forward to. While delivering an art performance such as this, with all the sensitivities attached, the creators must surely seek to create a production that deals with the subject matter in a respectful and accurate manner thereby creating a piece that can be watched by peoples of all faith including muslims. As a muslim I was appauled and offended at occasions in this play due to the lack of respect that was given to religious artefacts and content that muslims hold in high regard, it at times was borderline blasphimy at which point I had to stand up and leave.

By endeavouring to cover this subject there is an inherent responsibility to get the creation right and ensure that certain sanctities such as prayer and prayer artefacts as an example, and their meaning to muslims, are understood and respected.

It is very easy to have an idea and seek to create art but it is completely due to lack of willingness to ensure all aspects are considered is where this play fails and fails in a disrespectful way.

Today was a sad day.

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