Proud ★★★★ King's Head Theatre | Feb 22 - Mar 12, 2022

Two men from very different, but equally oppressive, cultures, must come to terms with the past before they can build a future. Roland (Taofique Folarin) has been raised in a household imbued with Christian condemnation and Amir (Andrei Maniata) is a Syrian refugee scarred by the horrors of the flight from his war-torn country. They have both learned to play the game by the society's rules and are now questioning how to live on their own terms. Bren Gosling has written an engaging and thought-provoking play about their journeys, and Marlie Haco's direction keeps the action moving with effective use of movement and music to enrich the experience. The cast is generally strong and Maniata does a fine job of the wary immigrant who is exploring the limits of his freedom. He provides a credible and touching rendering of his character. Folarin successfully captures the bravado and vulnerability of the outwardly conforming husband/father who has now decided to follow his own path. As Roland's son, Gary (Kaine Hatukai) is particularly strong. He embodies the sulky, rebellious teenager who has secrets of his own. If we have any quibbles with this production, they would be the somewhat rushed meeting and development of Roland and Amir's relationship on the basketball court, and the portrayal of Roland's anxiety about Gary's learning of his relationship. The latter scene is played so broadly as to be almost parodic. But, these are small points in an evening that brings to life three engaging characters in an important play showing how love can be the key to release us from being prisoners of our pasts.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Toby Mather.

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