Not Quite Jerusalem, Finborough Theatre - ★★★★ - Until March 28, 2020

Photographer: Kirsten McTernan.

What happens when some young British volunteers take up residence in a kibbutz outside of Jerusalem in 1979? This is a story which explores a clash of cultures and some complex personal growth stories. Perhaps even more, it uses these young people's experience in a society built on sharing and equality to reflect upon the class and social realities of Britain. Paul Kember's script almost feels like pages ripped from a diary chronicling the oddly assorted, idealistic and directionless people who showed up on kibbutzes and who then had to face the hard and practical realities of that life while coming to terms with their own issues. The first act seemed to take a long time to establish the characters, but a stronger second act took the narrative to more interesting places as we got a deeper look into the forces that had formed these young people and brought them to their present undertaking. Ryan Whittle did a fine job as Mike but the character of the moody, university dropout never managed to arouse much sympathy or interest for us. Miranda Braun's Carrie, the girl who tries so very hard to fit in but somehow fails to bond with her peers, struck a more interesting note. The characters of Pete (Ronnie Yorke) and Dave (Joe McArdle) held our attention whenever they were on the stage. They were both excellent as the louts lost and barely able to acknowledge, let alone articulate, what they were seeking in this experience. Russell Bentley was convincingly avuncular as the wise and patient Ami while Ailsa Joy was an amusing no-nonsense Gila. Although it was first performed in 1980, the issues raised by this thoughtful reflection on British society are amazingly relevant to today's social and political scene. Sometimes the only way we can truly see ourselves is reflected in the eyes others!

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until March 28, 2020
Tue - Sat: 7:30 pm, Sat & Sun: 3 pm
Finborough Theatre
Nearest tube: Earl's Court
https://finboroughtheatre.co.uk/production/not-quite-jerusalem/

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