Islam And Conservatism Up Close In Multitudes
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆
John Hollingworth's topical play Multitudes is a beast of a piece, exploring the British Muslim experience today. Set in Bradford on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference, it manages to be both vital and fast-paced and also full of great humour.
Kash (Navin Chowdhry) is a liberal Muslim councillor soon to deliver an address about the state of the nation. He's also a widowed father who's 18 year old daughter is exploring more extreme forms of activism. Then there's Kash's girlfriend Natalie (Claire Calbraith), a recent white Muslim convert who is at odds with everyone around her, especially her old style Tory mother Lyn (Jacqueline King).
This mix of incongruous characters play out a story loaded with underlying tension, which is palpable but also pleasurable to watch simmering away before it inevitably boils over. Natalie's attempts to do the right thing hit a dead end when it becomes clear Kash is bothered more with his reputation and political standing than her conversion to Islam. For the audience, it's interesting to try and decide her motives for converting in the first place and there are some hilarious scenes between Natalie and her mother Lyn. The latter can't seem to keep her mouth shut, lamenting the country going down the pan — something she thinks is compounded by her daughter's conversion. Is the conversion also a possible motive for Kash's rebellious young daughter entertaining extreme methods of activism?
With loveable characters and scenes that are always to the point, this ambitious and well-written play is exactly what we need in our theatres right now: brave work that tackles topics which are too often seen with suspicion.
By Stephen H
Multitudes runs at The Tricycle Theatre until 21 March. Ticket £13-£29. Londonist saw this play on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 25 February 2015