Inspired by a true story; that of Annemiek van Elst’s younger brother converting to Islam, Becoming Mohammed is an important, if somewhat far fetched, piece. It has been created with much influence from islamic communities in both London and Rotterdam.
“When Sara knocks on her brother’s door after two years, she hardly recognises the man in front of her. Thomas has grown a beard, gets up at the crack of dawn, and dates a girl in a Hijab. They attempt to rekindle their childhood friendship, but Thomas hasn’t told his sister everything yet…”
Philippa Carson was an increasingly convincing Sarah, but in the first act I definitely only believed her when she was angry. Difficult to tell whether that is a fault of the way her character was written, or the fact that she just didn’t say what was written in a believable manner.
There are definite plot holes. Why are they trying to rekindle their childhood friendship? Why had they had no relationship for two years in the first place? Questions I’d like the answers to, please.
The Pleasance Theatre isn’t one I’d visited before, but it is a sufficiently cosy space – it works.
There is a definite need to create a positive dialogue around not only Islam but religion in general in the culture in which we now live – and this piece has definitely gone a long way in doing just that.
And Many Others was founded in 2014 by Annemiek van Elst, who had a desire to connect with a wide range of artists make contemporary theatre. In their first production No Fixed Abode, the company explored the concept of belonging within the context of homelessness, by joining the people who sleep rough on the streets of London. Claudia Marinaro also joined the company following this production. The company create pieces which highlight both the beauty and malfunction in todays society, which relies on research as an important component, as well as the use of verbatim and documentary material.
Becoming Mohamed runs until Sunday 21st May at the Pleasance Theatre.