- Arusa Qureshi
- 25 August 2017
Solo adventures from Wessex
Standing alone on stage, accompanied by nothing but a few hanging lights, Natasha Marshall is a commanding presence, emitting an energy that is unprecedented for a one-woman show of this scale.
When mixed-race teenager Jazmin is finally given the chance to leave her tiny West Country village for London, self-doubt, internal conflicts and an innate fear of letting go bind her to her problematic hometown. Written and performed by Marshall herself, Half Breed is a stirring piece of theatre about finding your voice and refusing to become complicit in the hatred and prejudice of others.
Along with Jazmin, Marshall gives voice to multiple characters and personalities in the village, from the racist thug Mitchell to her unadventurous and short-sighted best friend Brogan. The show highlights the loneliness and complexities of otherness, through the skilled and often clustered converging of these varying voices, which work to draw a detailed picture of life as an outsider.
The mixture of spoken word, monologues and rhythmically charged dialogue symbolises the inner turmoil that Jazmin faces in terms of her identity and future, with her even noting at one point that her brain is just as confused as her skin.
Despite there only being one body on stage at all times, Half Breed creates an environment that feels overcrowded and intensely compressed, like elements of the village itself. But overall, it is Marshall's compelling storytelling that prevails, immersing us entirely in this journey of self-discovery and strength.
The Box, Assembly George Square, until 27 Aug, 12.20pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).