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Review: Dirty Pakistani lingerie at Kenneth More Theatre –Brilliant acting and thought provoking ideas

PUBLISHED: 17:02 04 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:02 04 April 2016

Dirty Pakistani Lingerie

Dirty Pakistani Lingerie

Archant

Dirty Pakistani Lingerie is not just a play about six Muslim women; it is a play about the struggles and challenges of women everywhere.

Aizzah Fatima plays all six charactersAizzah Fatima plays all six characters

Writer and actress Aizzah Fatima plays six Pakistani characters in a post 9/11 America.

The piece is juxtaposed against ancient Urdu poems, which at best highlight the gravity of the poets’ ability to be relevant to modern day women and, at worst, show the lack of progression, with women still facing the same issues hundreds of years later.

I did wonder if not coming from a Pakistani background would hinder my understanding of the play, performed at the Kenneth More Theatre, but it definitely didn’t.

There was one moment when 60 percent of the audience laughed and the rest of us looked on none the wiser, but overall I felt the issues spoken about were universal.

From worrying about what to say in a text message, to talking about problems in the bedroom, surely most people have been there at some point in their lives.

Aizzah slipped seamlessly between the different nuances of each character and demonstrated a real talent in singlehandedly holding the audience’s attention for the duration of the play.

The use of props and stage positioning was also very clever and credit is due to director Erica Gould.

The entire play was creatively enacted around a box, a handful of props and a green scarf, yet each scene felt full.

At times, it did feel the play would benefit from the interaction of another character, to give more understanding as to why the women felt the way they did, but overall the show worked well.

The play was billed as breaking down barriers and having a real exploration of Muslim women at its core – in fact Aizzah spent time interviewing women before she wrote the play – but for me, these experiences weren’t new concepts.

The characters weren’t groundbreaking, I had come across most of them walking down Ilford high street, but maybe that’s the point; maybe they were meant to be real rather than revolutionary .

What the play did well was raise lots of questions, including whether you can assimilate into another culture without forgetting where you came from.

After each performance, a group discussion is held on themes raised in the play and I was looking forward to participating in it.

However, I was thoroughly disappointed when this exercise turned into a token gesture.

An open debate was then pushed into a quick one-to-one with Aizzah, who brushed past questions and turned attention to buying her book.

Overall, the play was entertaining, realistic and really well acted and I would urge you to see it.

The lack of discussion - as promised - did spoil it for me and lessened the impact of the messages encased in the story.


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