Tag Archives: Sule Rimi

Downtown Paradise by Mark Jenkins

Performances

Chapter, Cardiff, Tues 29 May 2012, 8pm, £4 on the door

The Riverfront, Newport, Thurs 31 May 2012, 7.45pm, £4

The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, Friday 1st  2012, 7.30pm, £4

 

Cast

Rachel Bloom – Claire Cage

James Wilson – Sule Rimi

Director

Michael Kelligan

 

Review

The latest in the Welsh  Fargo Stage Company’s “On The Edge” series of play-readings (at Chapter, Cardiff) was a presentation of Mark Jenkins’ “Downtown Paradise”, an account of a collision between black and white radicalism in 1970s America, first produced by the author himself in the 1990s. From the outset, it is made clear that the story of Jewish lawyer Rachel’s attempt to secure the release from prison of the articulate and politically engaged Wilson will have an unfortunate conclusion; but the journey is a fascinating, engaging, and, on occasion, darkly humorous one. Sule Rimi is remarkably charismatic as the radical and defiantly imperfect jailbird, Claire Cage all tough tenderness as the cynically idealistic heroine, the writing is slick and convincing (at least to my non-American ears), and director Michael Kelligan keeps things flowing with great deftness for the most part (although I felt that the violent climax could have been handled more subtly). This is absorbing political theatre of a kind which seems, in the post 9/11 age, to be growing rarer – the kind which asks questions of the audience rather than simplistically demanding its agreement. Cage

Othniel Smith (blakeson.blogspot.co.uk)

 


Orange by Alan Harris

Performances

Chapter, Cardiff, Tues 22 Nov 2011, 8pm, £4 on the door

The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, Wed 23 Nov 2011, 7.30pm, £4

The Riverfront, Newport, Thurs 24 Nov 2011, 7.45pm, £4

Cast

Saleem – Sule Rimi

Chippie – Dean Rehman

Viv – Alan Humphreys

Director

Michael Kelligan

Review

THE context of Alan Harris’ gruelling play Orange is the War on Terror but the psychological issues it tackles can be transposed to any context, from sectarian Northern Ireland to Civil Rights horrors in the Deep South. While the tension and plot is based on taking an innocent hostage and threatening to kill him if a hostage taken by “the other side” is not released, this is just the vehicle for a story of the disposed, the aimless, the insecure, the innocents. While innocent may be a strange word to use for a hostage-taker, the character of Viv is a feckless, child in a grown up body, emotionally and at times physically dominated by his even more damaged elder brother Chippie.

The brothers take out their own despair and their own misguided belief in their position as champions of what is right in a corrupt system by kidnapping a black Muslim man and threatening to the authorities they will execute him if a female charity worker is not released by Islamic militants. Along the way out come pretty much every other bit of bigotry you can squeeze in – racism, sexism etc without a hint of self irony, rather, when talking about the barbaric terrorists the characters convince themselves “we are not like them”. The younger brother is left alone in the flat with their hostage and quickly they become mates as they kill time rather than one another. Of course the hostage is an ordinary bloke with his Tesco receipt in his wallet along with a photo of his son and shares interests with Viv in cars, cricket, card games. Chippie is the harder character who has “been inside” and is the violent thug with a delusional sense of mission.

Michael Kelligan directs this drama – part of his On The Edge season – with intensity that matches Harris’ shocking language and subject matter. With just three players, minimal costumes and props this is raw, immediate and deeply unpleasant in a highly satisfactory way.

Mike Smith (Western Mail)