Joy, in which learning disabled characters are played by trained actors with learning disabilities, is a play and a directorial choice commendably at the forefront of diversity and accessibility, but like all vanguard work with no previous models to follow, it needs further shaping and development.
In 1949, George Orwell lived the final months of his life in University College Hospital due to a severe case of tuberculosis. Torn between an uncertain faith in a recovery and the consciousness of the approaching end, hoping to write again, he decided to marry Sonia Brownell, a young and beautiful magazine editor.
Becoming Mohammed, in its story of a young white man’s conversion to Islam and the subsequent familial negotiations of his journey, not only adds to the diversity on the London fringe but reframes the stigma against white, western Christians converting to Islam, and the inherently peaceful nature of the religion.
Equally devastating and hilarious, Hwang makes his characters vibrant and alive rather than fully relying on stereotypes and shallow humour to generate laughs. Though the script is over-convoluted with too many layers of deception, it’s a fantastic vehicle for diversity, smartly written and great fun.
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