Saturday, 29 February 2020

Review: Aamira and Gad

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Aamira and Gad.
On this adventure, we meet Aamira and Gad, each belonging to an opposing side of the conflict and brought together by a sudden loss. Aamira is a storyteller, the role passed from Mother to Daughter and now that her mother has passed away, it is her turn. Gad thinks of himself as the hero of his own story, stepping into the standard-issue boots his brother left behind. When the two meet they begin to question the narratives that shape their lives, and question who their true enemies are. What stories do the archivists salvage? And what stories do they erase? Together with Aamira and Gad, the audience will go on an immersive adventure to solve a mystery and build a better future.

Throughout my many years of theatregoing, I have never encountered anything quite like Aamira and Gad. To refer to it as distinctive would be an understatement; it was dazzlingly unique. The show is highly inspired, and should receive commendation for its spellbinding creativity. It's a very ambitious piece of theatre, and such ambition certainly pays off. I do not want to spoil the show for readers who have yet to see it, but I can promise that you are likely to be blown away. Story-wise, Aamira and Gad primarily explores attitudes to war and conflict, inspired by experiences of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. In particular, it shows the way in which war and conflict is viewed through the eyes of a child. The exploration into this viewpoint felt authentic, and the naivety of youth was well conveyed. Aamira and Gad also explored the ways in which governments often try and turn communities against one another. This message was particularly impactful, showing how easy it is for governments to indoctrinate young children. The show has a central message of hope though, and tries to display a number of ways in which we can overcome hatred and fear in order to unite. Aamira and Gad undoubtedly has a number of important messages at its core, and its overarching moral themes of unity and hope are rather powerful.

The entirety of the cast were excellent, however the two leading performances were particularly striking; in the role of Aamira was Demi Wilson-Smith, whilst in the role of Gad was Emma Zadow. Both actors really captured the innocence of childhood within their characterisations, and portrayed the roles faultlessly. They were very convincing as young children, and proved to be very effective through their movement, physicality and facial expressions. Additionally, both performers were very engaging, and they each had an outstanding stage presence.

The puppetry, created by Katherine Stuart-Scobie, was extraordinarily well designed, with the 'Archivist' puppet being especially impressive. The life-size puppet conveyed a real sense of menace, and proved to be rather intimidating. It therefore proved very effective, and really added to the piece. It was also cleverly manoeuvred by a talented group of puppeteers. In relation to creativity, the lighting design, by George Ormisher, was also rather striking. It was successful throughout at altering the tone and mood of the show, and was therefore extremely effectual.

Now for my final verdict on Aamira and Gad. I give Aamira and Gad...

Aamira and Gad is a remarkable piece of theatre, and I was stunned by its ambition and creativity. There are also a handful of really good performances to be witnessed here, as well as some incredible designs.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Thanks for reading!

-The Basic Theatre Reviewer

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