I am not sure how to review this show.
I have sat here for a few days now but now, finally, I’m here at my desk and I have to file this review and I don’t know how to begin.
On one level – it’s not my show to review
To even respond to
Not my jokes to laugh at. I’m fine with that
I’m so fucking happy to see people glowing as they see themselves (finally!) onstage.
So on some level, it feels churlish to criticise it when the public reaction to it has been so warm and receptive because that’s actually the most important thing, surely. It’s not for me. It’s for the people who see themselves in Rumi. I’m so glad they saw themselves in her. Have I ever seen a Muslim woman take centre stage?
But then again, it’s being put onstage, it’s being presented as a piece of theatre
I have to judge it as a piece of art
To some extent
“Judge” is a terrible word because there is nothing that makes my opinion worthier or weightier than anyone else’s. I’ve been reading reviews of Coconut over the past few days and I just think – what do I possibly add? Is this even going to be helpful? Fundamentally, what is the point?
But then that feels reductive
To say something like
“I thought the staging was clunky”
Even if it’s
I did think that some of the staging obscured
Rather than uplifted
So many scene changes.
Did we need so many?
But then I have to – and I should
Examine my reaction to that
And I have to ask myself
Did I just not totally enjoy it because on some level I am programmed to prefer shows that uphold a white, middle class, male-led hegemony?
Probably also because it’s not for me
But I can’t shake the feeling that
It could have been better.
Why does Rumi have an imaginary friend?
It didn’t – I didn’t – I didn’t think the script needed it
I spent so much time thinking
When I wanted to be focusing on Her Story.
Don’t get me wrong, Tibu Fortes is wonderful
All the ensemble are wonderful
Jimmy Carter is mercurial
Kuran Dohil is charismatic and expressive and I am so excited to see her flourish.
It’s directed with such care by Madelaine Moore
Written with evident passion and dexterity by Guleraana Mir
I wish I had liked it more
But I wish it had elevated the story more simply
I didn’t need the props
The set dressing
The costume changes
The story – Rumi’s story doesn’t need it.
But then again
It wasn’t written for me
I think – if I wasn’t writing For A Publication then I wouldn’t have reviewed it
The important things that should be said
Have been said
By the women who saw the play and saw themselves in Rumi.
Coconut is on until 28 April 2018 at Ovalhouse. Click here for more details.