Bush Theatre, London – until 27 April 2019
The UK premiere of Estelle Savasta’s play (translated by Kirsten Hazel Smith), Going Through is a story about the journey’s child migrants take and the people they leave and meet along the way. The play combines English, British Sign Language and Creative Captioning to create a visceral production for both deaf and hearing audiences.
Going Through is not only a fantastic theatrical piece because of the realities it is bringing to the forefront of our minds; but because the storytelling itself is so superbly done. You almost forget these are not in the moment, real life actions being carried out in front of you. Simplistic and well defined, this two person show is enough to warm and break your heart at once.
Nadia Nadarajah and Charmaine Wombwell give utterly enchanting performances that are engaging and rarely give up. The use of sign language cleverly highlights how language can both involve and isolate. It’s also extremely moving to see how Nour (Wombwell) must dress up as a boy to make the journey from her troubled homeland to the UK. This act of masculinity where she comes face to face with the male traffickers on her tough journey, is in fact, what characterises her journey into womanhood.
Whilst it certainly glosses over the real hardships of both Nour and Youmna’s journeys, this play is a delicate study of human emotion and relationships. Both performers do particularly well at showing their internal emotions through slight movements.
As Youmna, Nadarajah is expressive and magical. Providing warmth and puppetry, she is a heart-warming character who celebrates love. Wombwell creates a wonderful emotional arc as Nour as she envelops us in her story. The pair perfectly interact with one another in this story which thrives on communication.
A touching and compelling 75 minute piece of theatre, there’s not much you can fault with Going Through. The journey and thoughtfulness of this production is truly something special and it deserves to be appreciated and acclaimed.
Going Through runs at the Bush Theatre until 27th April 2019
photo credit: Ali Wright