Six years post arriving in the UK to seek a safer environment to live as a result of rising protests in his native Sudan, performer Mohand Hasb Alrosol Abdalrah generously offers his own experiences of not being able to return to his homeland, a story that I’m sure many who have migrated can relate to. Alongside fellow PSYCHEdelight theatre member Peter Pearson, Mohand & Peter fuses clowning, physical theatre and improvisation to craft 70mins of nostalgia, yet also looks towards the future.
A ‘memory box’ based upstage serves as a constant reminder of ‘home’, Mohand & Peter fostering a relaxed, welcoming tone as the pair transport us to Mohand’s native Khartoum, Sudan. Once there, we’re greeted by the country’s sweltering equatorial climate, a beaming circular prop now a glowing orange orb up above, the pair now adorned in traditional Sudanese wear. A video they’d previously recorded a viral sensation, they’re now local celebs. They wander through Mohand’s local village and here we see what his life was like before he migrated.
Mohand’s story is warm, yet fuelled with resilience, the pair cleverly illuminating the world they now inhabit – Mohand comically at one point taking on the role of various family members when they all meet Peter for the first time, the protests that disrupt and speak up to leadership the show’s stark reality and undertone – one that inevitably shapes Mohand’s story. Religion plays an integral role in Mohand’s life, calls to prayer a beautiful reminder of his Islamic faith, the climate’s dry, heated, colourful landscape brought to life by the cast’s wondrous use of imagination and Ioana Curelea’s meticulous and playful eye – the staging although minimal, impactful. Translations in Arabic also a brilliant feature to help audience members access the show.
Sophie Bertrand Besse directs a pertinent piece of theatre highlighting the nuance within a migration story, and this is important to watch. Hasb Alrosol Abdalrah and Pearson charismatic performers who entertain, both bringing Mohand’s world to the Southwark Playhouse with flair. A show that encourages connection and to explore horizons perhaps different to our own, Mohand & Peter is a playful yet thoughtful piece exploring family, friendship, protest, migration and the power of stories.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Mohand & Peter is currently showing at the Southwark Playhouse until Saturday 9th April 2022. To find out more about the production, visit here…
For our interview with PSYCHEdelight theatre makers Mohand Hasb Alrosol Abdalrah and Peter Pearson who talk more about creating the show, visit here…