The Arrival, is a world premiere written and directed by Olivier Award-winning director Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles, The Brothers Size), showing at the Bush Theatre until 18th January.
With a simplistic setting designed by Samal Blak, an empty round stage is the focus of the story. We focus in on the relationship between two long lost brothers, who meet for the first time and explore their similarities and differences despite their separate upbringing.
Tom, (Scott Karim), was adopted, and we are left guessing as to the reason why, as Samad ( Irfan Samji) and a sister Yasmin were kept by the same parents who ended up getting married and staying together. Karim, as Tom shows a delightful enthusiasm at meeting his brother and being a part of the family, his openness and positivity is constant which is met with dwindling acceptance by the more conservative reservedness displayed by Samji as Samad,
The physicality explored by the pair is captivating with mirror like movements as they take each other in from across the stage, led by movement director Aline David. A gentle brotherly jog turns into a race, and a dance at a wedding develops into aggression moving from supporting to attacking each other. They physically push their limits throughout the play in an almost animalistic way exploring ‘nature vs nurture’. James Blake features as the soundtrack, with his soulful tones underscoring this bittersweet reunion.
As a piece, The Arrival, is both painful and beautiful to watch . At the end, the audience are still left with questions, but perhaps this is intended, as the relationship between brothers, and family is extremely intricate and some answers never do come for children who are separated from their family at birth. This is a vivid production that is definitely worth seeing.