Rumi: The Musical ★★★★ London Coliseum | November 23 & 24, 2021


Rumi was a mystic and poet who lived in the 13th century and to this day, he is considered the national poet of Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. His importance to these cultures cannot be overestimated and his legacy is abundant in the philosophy and art of his successors. This presentation of his life deals with his spiritual quest and his relationship with his guide the Dervish, Shams-i-Tabrizi. In some ways, we felt the production was not well-served by the subtitle "The Musical." While this genre has tackled more than just romantic love as a subject, Rumi's story struck us as being of more operatic proportions. Indeed, coming to this production unfamiliar with the great teacher's life and with expectations based on traditional musical theatre might leave one a little puzzled. That said, both the music and performances were a delight. Ramin Karimloo as Shams and Nadim Naaman as Rumi gave strong and impressive voice to the principals. Casey Al-Shaqsy was a poignant Kimya and Soophia Foroughi stood out as the dutiful wife, Kara. Ahmed Hamad was excellent as the besotted Aladdin and Yazdan Qafouri did a fine job as the dutiful son Sultan. They were blessed with having the lush and emotive music and lyrics of Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Naaman to work with. For us, one other small quibble might be the imbalance in action and development in Act I and Act II. But such nit-picking aside, this is a wonderful presentation of the poet/philosopher and of his spiritual quest. Don't hesitate to share Rumi's journey!

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Jane Hobson.

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