Assimilating to a new way of life brings with it a whole host of challenges, how the community engage with this process is perhaps one of the toughest challenges if one isn’t accepted. But what binds us all is the ability to love, communicate and help one another in times of need. Delving into the integration process of two refugees settling into a South Eastern England seaside town, Mahad Ali presents My Brother’s Keeper, an observant take on how two very different worlds are forced to see eye to eye and get by.
The owner of the struggling Dalby Hotel Bill Bradley (Philip Wright), he prepares his son Aidan Bradley (Oscar Adams) for the world of business, his hopes of his son following in his footsteps and continuing the family legacy and take over the running of the hotel when he retires a main priority. His best friend, Linton Hughes (Peter Eastland) is on the campaign trail to hopefully become leader of a far right political group, determined on preserving ‘what was’. Aman (Tapiwa Mugweni) and Hassan (Tito Williams) two refugees who end up on the doorstep of the Dalby Hotel, where they now reside. This in turn nourishing a friendship between Aman and Hassan/ Bill and Aidan much to aspiring political leader Linton’s and the local community’s dismay.
What then transpires is a community at a crossroads with their own prejudices but at a possible turning point. Linton the populist – a patriot proud of his roots and determined to stick to them, Bill the hotel owner a lot more open and accepting. Ali pens a vital, nuanced, warm yet quietly uncomfortable piece not afraid to confront the huge elephant in the room of intolerance. The duality of the Bill and Linton/Aman and Hassan narratives within themselves, necessary to see played out parallel to one another, as well as their lives interconnecting and causing conflict when they collide. Robert Awosusi directs a sustained, characterful two hours, a show that steadily simmers with tensions disrupted by Aman’s straightforwardness – tapping into the seemingly calm British temperament of keeping your feelings to yourself.
My Brother’s Keeper manages to entertain, despite the subject matter and is able to capture the humanity that underpins everything! Ali makes an accomplished debut with this, one able to bridge divide in a subtle manner and really encourage conversation.
Written by Lucy Basaba.
My Brother’s Keeper is currently showing until Saturday 4th March 2023 at Theatre503. To find out more about the production, visit here…