My Name Is… follows the story of two parents and their daughter; the mother a Glaswegian, the father from Pakistan. When the daughter goes missing, the media immediately assumes that the father is an extreme Muslim fundamentalist and has kidnapped the daughter to force her into an arranged marriage. Tables are turned, however, when the daughter comes forward and admits that she followed her father of her own accord. Suspicion is shifted instead to the mother, and the finger of blame is pointed from one to the other.
Parents and daughter never leave the stage, chatting conversationally over each other and taking it in turns to go back to the beginning and trace their steps to the present day. It’s a slight shock to walk into the play without knowing what to expect: half the words that the daughter says are in Arabic, which meant that there were several references that went straight over our heads, but it’s quite a revelation to learn that the entire play is based on live recordings made by playwright Sudha Bhuchar, after learning about the original event and chasing down the real ‘characters’ for their stories.
The acting isn’t ground-breaking and neither is the production, and there are several confusing moments where everyone talks over each other so that you can’t understand a word, but My Name Is… is an eye-opening insight into the difficulties that cross-cultural marriages can bring.
My Name Is… is running now until the 24 May at Arcola Theatre, Ashwin Street, Dalston. Tickets £17 (£12 concessions). For more info visit the Arcola website. Londonist saw this play on a complimentary press ticket.