Annually, the Brits Off Broadway has been a highlight as it transfers powerful work from Britain into the New York theatre scene. Invading America’s stages with some of the boldest and brightest work playwrights in Britain have to offer, the festival is constantly outdoing itself with the productions it brings. And with a production like “Angel & Echoes” by Henry Naylor spearheading it, we can certainly expect it this year, too.
“Angel & Echoes” consists of two plays where Naylor investigates with precise and beautiful emotional context what is it to be a woman in the world that men created. Using the current global climate, and ISIS as the major offender, the work here is so inspiring and creative it feels universal. In “Echoes” we get to understand this, as Naylor cleverly weaves the story of a Muslim woman getting lost in her faith and a British woman losing hers.
The power of their stories becomes even greater as the play progresses, showing how close we all are to the same fate. How we all are susceptible to being blinded by corrupt religion and how faith can be used as a weapon for and against you. Not only that, but how the role of women in each of this iterations is diminished while the men change the rules to create a society based on their ideals. Performers Serena Manteghi and Rachel Smyth leave it all on the stage to make sure we are aware of the cycle of violence most empires built their foundation upon.
Emma Butler directed a breathtaking short play that could only be topped by its immediate follow up, a one woman show called “Angel.” Here, Naylor digs further into the double standard that extremists used and what you do when everything is taken away from you. The story of a young girl looking for her dad through the war ravaged Syrian landscape, this show provides heart thumping moments mixed with an emotional rollercoaster all held by Avital Lvova . With the direction from Michael Cabot, Lvova delivers a tour de force that the audience will not soon forget.
“Angel & Echoes” is being presented at the 59e59 Theaters until May 7th as part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival. I can’t think of a more important production to watch.
*All images via Carol Rosegg
Out of 4 stars:
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