2nd to 21st May, 2017
“Inspired by director Annemiek Van Elst’s experiences of her brother converting to Islam, the
world premiere of Becoming Mohammed comes to Pleasance Theatre. The play explores what
it takes for a Western man to become a Muslim, and for his family to come to terms with his
When Sara knocks on her brother’s door after two years, she hardly recognises the man in front
of her. Thomas has grown a beard, gets up at the crack of dawn, and dates a girl in a Hijab. They
attempt to rekindle their childhood friendship, but Thomas hasn’t told his sister everything yet…”
|Director||Annemiek van Elst|
|Costume Design||Syed Shadid Nisar|
|Illustrator & graphic designer||Daniela Pinheiro|
Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars
This brilliant piece of theatre suprisingly has a lot of comedy, and a huge amount of good heart!
Thomas (Jack Hammett) is a ginger haired white caucasian welsh boy who has reverted to Islam. He’s also fallen in love with Aminah (Nadia Lamin) and after only 6 months of dating is now engaged to be married. He’s never been alone with Aminah, always under the chaperone of Musa (Jonah Fazel), a situation his modern fully liberated “meat and wine loving” sister ( “Sarah”, played by Philippa Carson) discovers when she turns up to reclaim her childhood possessions.
Thomas is an angry young man who sees ignorance and aggression by others towards his newly found faith. He wants to tell the World they’re wrong, to educate, and to have society embrace Islam. Sarah feels her brother has been indoctrinated and needs to be rescue . Between these two characters we have a vehicle to challenge, misunderstand each other and show perspective that is both education and witty!
Set Designer Bex Kemp has created a simple living room set with wall to wall carpet, fully using the Pleasance natural walls and radiators as part of the living room. There are stained outlines of where the picture used to hang on the wall now that Thomas’ former life is neatly packed away in plastic storage containers stacked behind the sofa. Thomas transformation into a new life and regime includes packing away the television. This realisation of the play’s structure is truly perfect!
The script by Claudio Marinaro is very funny, very witty and allows each character to explain their viewpoints. With such a strong cast there is never a dull moment as they take every opportunity with their show-stopper lines. However it has to be said that Nadia Lamin’s performance was both excellent and adorable! She walks a fine line between modest expectations and her inner feisty temperment – a metaphorical stamping of her foot to take command while presenting a calm controlled exterior. You can’t fail to love every moment she’s on stage and to be in her company.
The lighting by Rachel Sampley allowed for illumination and some mood changes. It’s always difficult with a low ceiling and a close audience to avoid blinding the audience so this was solved here simply by avoiding any backlight. The Sound by Jack Barton was a little loud here and there for such an intimate space but was meshed nicely into the production.
This is one show you’d like everybody to see. It was informative in a cheeky way. It was a lot of fun. Apart from Thomas, the characters don’t take themselves too seriously. As a new revert to Islam, Thomas took himself and Islam way too seriously which had detrimental consequences.
This production really makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening!
Becoming Mohammed has been created in direct consultation with Islamic communities in both
London and Rotterdam, and is being supported by a cultural facilitator, Nabihah Islam. In an
effort to open up a dialogue and understanding between Western and Islamic communities, half
of all performances will begin with a short forum theatre workshop. The company will also host
post-show Q&As on Friday evenings and will share their research interviews with reverts and
Islamic leaders online.
Performance dates Tuesday 2nd – Sunday 21st May 2017
|Post- show talks||Find out more at https://www.pleasance.co.uk/.|
|Running time||90 minutes|
Twitter #BecomingMohammed, #AndManyOthers, @TheatreAMO,