Broken Wings ★★★★ Charing Cross Theatre | Feb 11 - Mar 26, 2022

Star-crossed lovers again! From Romeo and Juliet to West Side Story, the oft-told story ultimately gets its power from its treatment. The magic is not so much in the tale but in the telling. In this case, we are given a musical version of Khalil Gibran's poetic recounting of his first love. Best known for his work The Prophet, Gibran was an almost cult-like figure in the 1960s. His work, Broken Wings, is less known, but its current transformation into a musical works primarily because it takes us into an unfamiliar world and makes turn-of-the-century Beirut the central character of the story. The narrative of young love thwarted by an intolerant society is made fresh by the complex relationship Gibran has with the culture of his youth. The plot itself unravels with all the earnestness and simplicity of first love, but it is the looming presence of Beirut and Gibran's love-hate relationship with his homeland that makes the story interesting. The music and lyrics of Dana Al Fardan and Nadim Naaman successfully work to weave the charm and mystery of the city in such numbers as "Spirit Of The Earth." Naaman also convincingly plays the older Gibran carried back to his youth on the wings of memory, while Noah Sinigaglia and Lucca Chadwick-Patel are suitably charming and engaging as the young lovers. Their duet "I Know Now" is a highlight. We also loved the haunting, but powerful, voice that Soophia Foroughi brought to her role as Mother. Indeed, if we have any quibble it is with sameness tone throughout and the absence of any humour. While it is true to Gibran's original it left us wanting a change of pace. Nevertheless, Broken Wings soars in a beautiful celebration of first love.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Danny Kaan.

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