Guest Review by @FranMephamG @PascalTheatreCo #CrossingJerusalem “marks a well crafted piece of Theatre” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Photo Credits by Mia Hawk



Crossing Jerusalem marks a well crafted piece of Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Guest Reviewed by Francesca Mepham  @FranMephamG

Pascal Theatre are presenting Crossing Jerusalem at Park Theatre, a play written and directed by Julia Pascal. This Middle Eastern family caught in the middle of the Israel- Palestinian conflict, has all the trademarks of Pascal’s writing, that explores Jewish attitudes and experiences.

A modern Jewish Israeli family look like they have it all from an outside perspective. Love, humour and money. A young attractive couple Gideon and Yael straddle in a bedroom, displaying passion but little closeness. David Ricardo-Pearce and Adi Lerer are convincing as the troubled pairing of the play. Yael wants a son and her husband to open up to her, her desperation is very touching and heartbreaking in equal measure.

 

Pascal has made the centre of the play however about Varda Kaufmann-Goldstein the matriach who has a lot to say pretty much on every topic and is not afraid to let her voice be heard. A stern businesswoman Trudy Weiss plays the role to perfection with a smart wit and great charisma which makes you believe every word she speaks. Although at times very frantic the role of Varda never loses its poignancy throughout the production, even though there are great moments of dryly funny one liners such as retelling her mum’s sharp tongue ‘old people shouldn’t be born’ that is said with such precise comic timing it’s a joy to watch.

The sub plot of two brothers, Christian Arabs, that are connected to the Kaufmann’s is very affecting. They are two young men clinging on to each other unknowingly, with the youngest brother Sharif (Alastair Toovey) hot headed and the polar opposite to his older brother Yusuf (Waleed Elgadi). Toovey gives an assured performance as a youth who has a lot of hate boiling inside him. It would have been welcomed even more subtlety from Elgadi in his despair, but overall there are some tender moments captured between him and Yael.

 

With stark white staging of tables and chairs it is almost if this is representing a neutrality in the stance on the conflict between the inner core of the family as well as the two Khallil brothers. The action was firmly based on the long scenes taking place between the odd interjections of music at the transitions, such as opera which summed up perfectly the drama.

Varda’s passive and at times very humorous husband Sergei (Chris Spyrides) was comedic relief in times of real sorrow and it was clear his role is to carry the hot headed Varda which is often very beautiful to watch especially in the final scenes of the play. Liora (Louisa Clein),Varda’s daughter, is also another joy to behold as the free spirited daughter who is very fair and deep down sensitive to the bias that has always been shown to her brother from her mother. More scenes between Varda and her daughter would have been perhaps a bigger insight to the complex relationship between the pair.

 

Crossing Jerusalem is a look at family turmoil with a back drop of an ongoing national between Israel and Palestine. Pascal makes the audience care about her characters with an attachment growing with every minute that the play unfolds. It’s significance is great, as it makes a conflict that is seen so often in the media become living and breathing on the Park Theatre Stage.

Crossing Jerusalem marks a well crafted piece of Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Guest Reviewed by Francesca Mepham @FranMephamG

Watch “Crossing Jerusalem” on @Vimeo

 

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