The mother/daughter bond is one of the most sacred ones we’ll experience, this taking on various forms dependent on one’s own circumstances. Cultural expectations a layer that inevitably shape how this bond develops. An honest exploration of the mother/daughter bond within a working class Muslim household, writer Ambreen Razia presents Favour, a multi-generational take on the resilience of women and cultural clashes between tradition and progression.
For many of us, our grandparents play an integral part in supporting our upbringing, and in the case of teen Leila (Ashna Rabheru), this rings true. Cared for by grandmother Noor (Renu Brindle) academic and religious expectations are held high, Leila’s reality of silently battling with anxiety in response to her mother, Aleena’s (Avita Jay) imprisonment one she daily navigates with fixed routine. Razia crafts an rich, intimate, defiant work challenging cultural expectations, giving voice to the traditions of grandma’s conservative roots and the shift in cultural ideals of the diaspora. It questions the judgemental nature of the supporting community and how actions impact social standing on both an individual and familial level and sensitively highlights the healing process between parent and child – in light of a parent’s battle with addiction and imprisonment and for this I applaud her.
Co-directors Róisín McBrinn and Sophie Dillon Moniram vividly piece this timely, honest production together wonderfully. Three generations of women battling one another on differing ideologies but drawn together by family lineage. Liz Whitbread’s homely set places us at the heart of this family’s connections and feuds, conversations taking place over the always replenished dining table upstage, the living room to the left of the space and the kitchen, inventively sectioned upstage below the stage sees the cast ascend and descend as they use its facilities. Rabheru’s Leila is vibrant and forever hopeful, her bond with Jay’s Aleena an endearing one to watch. Jay’s Aleena is unpredictable and carefree, her love for Leila incredibly clear yet her battle with mental health one she’s constantly confronted with, especially from the fellow community and her mother Noor. Brindle’s Noor is astute, a stoic soul who wants nothing but the best for granddaughter Leila and the rest of her family. Her tough stance towards daughter Aleena authentic, underneath it, a sensitive, deeply loving yet methodical persona works to ensure the family remains together. Rina Fatania‘s Fozia is a force to be reckoned with, a bold, outspoken member of the community, she doesn’t hold back on her thoughts and judgements about everyone, dynamics between her and Aleena fascinating to watch as they’re equally as fiery. A necessary new piece of writing examining the choices we make, and their consequences in the short term and long term.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Favour is currently showing until Saturday 6th August 2022 at the Bush Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…