How lucky am I? I got to spend two nights in a row with lovely Olivier Awards nominee Marc Antolin this week.
After sitting behind him at the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night, when he was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for Little Shop of Horrors at the Open Air Theatre, on Monday night I got to sit beside him onstage at London’s Park, where he’s currently starring in the European premiere of Tom Coash’s Cry Havoc.
This three-hander, inspired by an incident during the American playwright’s own time living in Egypt, centres on the love between Marc’s British ex-pat Nicholas and James El-Sharawy‘s young Egyptian Mohammed. Does their relationship make Mohammed unsafe? Can Nicholas ‘save’ him by taking him to England? Will Karen Winchester’s surreal civil servant grant the visa to escape? Does Mohammed really want to go, leaving behind his home, his family, his identity and his fight?
“Love is a search for faith. Putting your hand in the fire and believing”
At a time when our headlines are full of news about Brunei’s gay death penalty laws and religious parents protesting LGBTQ inclusion in classrooms, let alone growing Brexit and Trump-era intolerance to asylum seekers and immigrants, Cry Havoc is scarily relevant and all-too-real.
I was delighted to be able to discuss the issues – as well as moving from musicals to plays (and back again), identity, belonging, chicken’s feet, marmite, the importance of soundscapes, faith versus love and much more – with Marc, James, Karen and Time Zone Theatre Ltd artistic director Pamela Schermann.