"the singing is superb throughout"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 04/08/18

A new and beautiful musical comes to the Haymarket.

The story is an operatic one. Secret love, death, evil clergymen. Not a load of laughs, but it has its own enchantment. The haunting music, written by the authors is simple, but in the Lebanon scenes has an Eastern flavour to contrast with the American style of the New York episodes.

The Broken Wings was an autobiographical story written more than a hundred years ago in Arabic, about tragic love, condemning the antifeminism of the regime in Beirut and criticising the organised religion that allowed it to happen.

Gibran was a poet and early feminist, who spent his early life in Beirut and this is a story about his visit there as a young man. He fell in love with his beautiful cousin Selma who returned his passion but she was given to a nephew of the Bishop and neither she nor her father had any say in the matter. Gibran was distressed to find that a girl could be just given away as if she were a thing to use rather than an intelligent living person.

It broke his heart and it impelled him to write the story which has now been made into a musical play by Nadim Naaman and Dana La Fardan..

Nadim Naaman, who wrote the play, also plays the role of Gibran aged 40 and acts as narrator speaking from his drinks table in New York..

The young Kahlil Gibran (Rob Houchen) arrives in Beirut and is greeted with friendship by his friend Karin (Nadeem Crowe)and his uncle Farris (Adam Linstead) – the father of Selma (Nikita Johal). Of course, the two young people fall in love, but the Bishop (Irvine Iqbal) decides that his worthless nephew Mansour should marry Selma in order to take advantage of his future father in law’s great wealth. The young man just goes along with it happy to have the use of Farris’ money.

The singing is superb throughout but in the Lebanon scenes, the sound is not Western – especially from Nikita Johal when she cries out against the injustice of her life she is almost screaming Soophia Foroughi also as Gibran’s mother sings out with great passion and power.

It adds so much to the meaning of the story that these woman could rule the world with very little trouble and yet they are practically slaves.

The designs by Claudio Rosas and Mira Abad are exceptionally creative and innovative and all is brilliantly lit by Nic Farman. The musical Director is Joe Davison and the show is directed by Bronagh Lagan

The names of the cast are difficult to get one’s head round, but it is wonderful to see so many Middle Eastern actors on the London stage.

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