’A clever, engaging production of a classic’: ARABIAN NIGHTS – Hoxton Hall

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Shanine SalmonLeave a Comment

Hoxton Hall, London – until 13 October 2018

This was the first time I have visited Hoxton Hall, one of the last remaining music halls in London, and it seemed a very fitting venue for this economic production of Arabian Nights.

Iris Theatre has made excellent use of puppets, masks and simple props to bring Nessah Muthy’s vision of these classic stories to life. Muthy has used selected Sharazad stories in this production, who is a brave female slave, although this differs from her original role as a tyrannical king’s daughter. We follow the tale of Sharazad avoiding execution by King Shahryar by telling him stories, thus persuading him to let her stay alive for just one more day, and another, and another…

Sharon Singh is spellbinding as the determined Sharazad, captivating King Shahryar and the audience with a ride through familiar tales such as ‘Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves’ and ‘Sinbad the Sailor’, along with some tales which are probably less known to British audiences. Pravessh Rana makes a booming, formidable King Shahryar, but with a vulnerability underneath the man committing his horrific acts. They are well supported by Izzy Jones as Sharazad’s beloved sister Dunzayad, Hemi Yeroham as the King’s Vizier Khalid, Ikky Elyas as the King’s executioner and Maya Britta as one of the King’s unfortunate wives.

All of the cast play various roles throughout the production, which is especially charming given the ‘story within a story’ structure of Arabian Nights, and all interact with the audience with great humour, making us feel part of the tales. Muthy is quoted in the programme as wanting to represent women of colour on stage as the drivers of their own narratives, which I think comes out particularly well in this production.

King Shahryar’s treatment of women is horrific and terrifying, but he isn’t the centre of the story; Sharazad is telling stories for not only her life, but her sister’s, and their struggle is the bond of love which anchors the narrative. This is a clever, engaging production of a classic, which is powerful enough to delight adults of all kinds.
King Shahryar and Sharazad

Shanine Salmon on RssShanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.
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Shanine Salmon on RssShanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.

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