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Posts Tagged ‘Charlene James’

Though I knew what this play was about I wasn’t expecting to be so moved or so horrified by it. 

Both Muna and Iqra are fifteen and come from Somalia, but that’s just about where their similarities end. Muna came here when she was three and she’s now like any other fifteen year old in the UK – western clothes, obsessed with her phone and Rhianna. Iqra came here when she was ten, dresses traditionally, not really mixing with other fifteen year olds. They take the same bus to school, but Muna is upstairs and Iqra downstairs. One day Muna befriends Iqra and confides in her. This is at first reciprocated, but things take a turn when Muna pays an unexpected and unwelcome visit to Iqra’s home.

Iqra accepts her traditions but Muba is horrified by them. She was cut herself and now fears for her younger sister, who is approaching the same age when it happened to her. The two worlds collide as their lives become entwined and the extent of Iqra’s acceptance of tradition is revealed. As they get to know each other it’s a gentle and funny play, but when it confronts FGM it grabs you by the throat and punches you in the stomach, with an extraordinarily moving design coup (Joanna Scotcher) towards the end. The performances of both Adelayo Adedayo and Tsion Habte (an auspicious professional debut) are stunning and deeply moving.

In just 70 minutes, Charlene James’ excellent play confronts this barbaric and entirely unnecessary practice and must be seen, both for understanding the issue and the quality of its writing, staging by Gbolahan Obisesan and performances.

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