My goodness. What a play.
Written by Stephanie Silver and directed by Kevin Russell, Our Big Love Story explores a series of interweaving narratives occuring after a terrorist attack on the London Underground in 2005. In an intelligently crafted, graphic and vital show, a wise variety of perspectives and viewpoints of the attack are portrayed by 5 actors. In particular I must praise Ikky Elyas, who I noted as a ‘master of delivery’, as he played a practising Muslim teacher, who suffered through PTSD and a strain of triggering events following the attack. His delivery of an Islamic prayer song to open the show was haunting, and on every delivery remained captivating. This prayer was consistantly juxtaposed with a performance of white racism – a factor that insisted the audience consider their understanding of both parties.
The portrayal of teenagerhood was a particularly innteresting point. There was a refreshing diversity in the portrayal of teenage relationships, and beautifully candid discussions of sex. The play did not shy away from broaching topics like gender, race, social class or age. While it talked about the topics, not at one point did it become preachy, or a class in political correctness, which gave it serious brownie points for not patronising me. While comic relief moments were present, they were well timed and never tried to make light of hearty topics which could have cheapened the show and trivialised the topics.
While I would implore all readers of this post to go and see this show, I would pre-warn that there are some graphic moments of violence. These, however, are pivotal for the story to be as unique and representative as it is, so don’t let this put you off. What I would recommend is to go with someone you love – or if that person is yourself go for it – and be sure to have a drink in the bar after the show, as it is likely the cast will pop in for a chat, and they are so lovely you’d be silly not to at least say hi.
The show is playing at the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton until the 4th of August, and I have said it once, I can say it a hundred times, make time for it. I promise it’s worth it.