Tron Theatre, Glasgow
The newspaper headlines that surround the estranged family in Sudha
Bhuchar's new play for Tamasha Theatre Company may scream of how a
young Scottish/Pakistani girl was kidnapped by her father, but the
truth is infinitely more complex. Drawn from interviews with the real
life mother, father and daughter whose faces were seen all over the
world in 2006 when just such an incident occurred, Bhuchar's play
changes their names to try and explain the back-story to what happened.
In Philip Osment's simple but stately production, Farhan and Suzy tell
how they met and fell in love in Glasgow, with a teenage Suzy
converting to Islam as they marry and have children, including their
youngest, Ghazala. As personal and cultural tensions coming to the
fore, the marriage falls apart and Farhan returns to Pakistan, with
Ghazala moving across continents to be with one parent or the other.
This is a sad, emotionally raw story that is laid bare without
sentiment as the family's words reveal a fragile, warts and all world
of painful decisions that have disastrous consequences for all. Buchar
wisely doesn't take sides or attempt to offer any easy solutions in a
drama that has moved on considerably from where her play ends. Rather,
she and Osment allow the understated power of the piece to come through
a fantastically nuanced trio of performances from Kiran Sonia Sawar as
Ghazala, Umar Ahmed as Farhan and especially Karen Bartke as Suzy.
While the resonances of the play being performed in Glasgow cannot be
understated, for all the heartbreak on show, it's the moments of love
you remember most.
The Herald, June 2nd 2014