Tuesday, May 28

Favour – Bush Theatre

A traditional Muslim family are awaiting the return of Aleena (Avita Jay), mother to Leila (Ashna Rabheru) who went to prison two years ago and with her release is returning to Grandma Noor’s home (Renu Brindle). A generational family drama, we see Leila tackle her anxiety to keep her returning mother happy and avoid her downfall in her depression again whilst tackling her grandmother’s expectations and traditions that she has kept to on a tight schedule. With a very comedic performance from Neighbour Fozia (Rina Fatania) who gossips her way through the family, shunning certain members out of weddings until eventually the karma is thrown right back. An emotional, hilarious drama that presents very real family environment damaged by betrayal and selected loyalty.

Photo: Suzi Corker

Writer Ambreen Razia has written an incredible piece placing a young girl at centre to decide on her traditions adding the pressure that comes with the family attached to those belief systems. Leila carries an immense amount of anxiety with the pressure of letting her mother and grandmother down but is never actually asked what she wants- this inevitably shatters the safety net of home and secrets reveal themselves, unmasking Leila’s perception causing the chaos to unravel. Razia has previously written about the prison system and this play shows the depth of her knowledge and passion towards the aftermath of freedom. Razia handles the themes beautifully and allows the characters to breathe in all of their vulnerability, humour, rage and destruction all at once- it felt extremely real, relevant and passionate and I’m so glad I was able to watch.

Immediately upon entering, we are undoubtably in a fantastically designed living room with character and history everywhere. I believed I was really apart of those walls and thought the crew brought a brilliant reality to the piece; Liz Whitbread, Sally Ferguson and Sound Batra (Set and costume, Lighting, Sound and Composer) put in an excellent final touch.

I really do feel like this piece will stay with me for its genuine vulnerability and passion on stage, it was a pleasure to get to know this family and see the depth of a mother’s love trying to combat the wants and necessaries to creating a better life for their children.

Playing until the 6th August, https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/favour/

Reviewer: Alice Rose

Reviewed: 30th June 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★