Review: Ali and Dahlia, at Pleasance Theatre
04 April, 2019 — By ERIN COBBY
Kai Spellman in Ali and Dahlia. Photo: Steve Gregson
ALI and Dahlia takes an unflinching look at the Arab/Israeli conflict, offering up a heart-breaking romance as its powerful access point.
Performed in the round, the cast camouflage themselves among the audience, making a genuinely surprising, and therefore powerful, entrance as they take to the minimal stage.
All the performances are memorable, with Kai Spellman performing admirably despite the difficulty of multi-roling characters. However, it was Ali‘s (Waj Ali) and Dahlia’s (Deli Segal) captivating romance that earns this piece such high accolades. Their talented physicality makes their loss of innocence not only believable, but relatable. As their years grow alongside their distance, they emotively portray the pervading effects of the inherited traumas of their past and present.
Tariq Jordan’s writing draws on his own Arabic-Muslim heritage allowing the piece to become personal while not over-simplifying complex political histories. His writing is extremely powerful, merging humour and poignancy effortlessly: “everything in the world is made in China –except courage –courage is made in Palestine”.
Perforated with Arabic rap music and using tantalising culinary imagery, Ali and Dahlia is an enduring assault on the senses, a modern star-crossed lover’s tale with unfortunately all too real origins.
Until April 14
020 7609 1800