Theatre 503, London – until 2 November 2019
What is it? Written by Danusia Samal, the show follows a young woman as she attempts to live a double life in this moving story of culture, womanhood, privilege and family.
What is it all about? Zara (Nalân Burgess), is stuck between the worlds of her Muslim family, and the British family she has created with her friends. Living with her best friend Alice (Emma Denly), a white British woman from a privileged background, Zara feels seen and apart of this way of life completely. Attempting veganism, drinking cheap LIDL wine and getting through the day to day as a paralegal in the same firm as Alice, Zara gives the demeanour of being fine.
But Zara has secrets, and after finally attending a family lunch that she has been avoiding for months, tensions bubble over and Zara begins to feel pressure closing in on her. Breaking news to her family about a relationship gone sour, Zara ends up pushing those around her away, with angry and heartbreaking results.
How did it make me feel? This show covers a huge range of issues, and yet, the script is so well written, and so deeply moving, it feels like the heaviness of everyday life represented on stage is natural and acceptable. The cast are all excellent, with Burgess leading the way with a raw intensity that is so deep and guttural it is absolutely astounding to watch. Myriam Acharki as Layla is also wonderful, and gives the piece a powerful anchor, particularly in her heart wrenching and exquisite monologue during the last section of the show.
The undertones of cultural ignorance and privilege that course through Out Of Sorts gives it a tension that you will not realise you are holding on to until the show has come to an end. The representation of eating disorders and poor mental health are also cleverly entwined within the piece, reminding us that no person is just a singular thing, that we all in fact, have various facets in us that make us who we are. Intelligent staging has a hand in bringing us a lived in feeling, as two households are represented in one, with actors sharing the space, and giving us the sense of two different homes.
Director Tanuja Amarasuriya builds this world with a detailed eye, never missing a thing. Where was it playing? Normally a simple black box set up, theatre503 transforms this theatre to a green, functioning kitchen. Fully equipped with cupboards, a fridge, a dining table and everything else that goes along with it, the set by Rebecca Wood transports you from the moment you enter the space.
Anything else? Theatre in one of its truest forms, Out Of Sorts deserves a life after this run, and needs to be given the chance to be experienced by as many people as possible. Out Of Sorts is playing at Theatre503 until the 2nd November 2019. If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!