13th Jun 2012 12:07pm | By Editor
Stopping off at the Bush as part of World Stages London this short play (written and directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi’s for the Palestinian company ShiberHur) puts a new twist on the story of Abraham and his son Isaac.
It brings the tale up to date to reflect the stresses of living on unsafe border territory and showing the damage that early childhood trauma can cause.
As in the biblical story, at the last moment Abraham has desisted from sacrificing his young son to God, but he refuses to tell his wife what went on when the two of them disappeared for days and he’s sworn the boy to secrecy. So it’s left to the sacrificial Wise Ram, in conversation with Young Lamb, to reveal what happened up in the mountains.
It’s a heartfelt piece of writing which lays bare the agonised worry of the mother who has already lost one son to war, the misguided confusion of the father whose attempts to toughen up their remaining boy destroyed their relationship, and, when the lad has himself grown up, the emotional anguish he in turn suffers and inflicts on his own wife in what could turn out to be a repeating story.
But those talking sheep (in their frankly ridiculous costumes) are at odds with the heavy symbolism and the combination neither satisfies nor adds insight.
Bush Theatre, Uxbridge Road, W12 8LJ
Tube | Shepherds Bush
Until 9th June | £ 10-£24