The Host by National Youth Theatre – Review

National Youth Theatre, The Host – St James’s Church Piccadilly. Credit Mark Cocksedge

When I was invited to review this show, I was very excited as the NYT of GB, otherwise known as the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain are making some seriously hot theatre, right now!

I was very intrigued by the venue, St James’ Church, Piccadilly, it’s been a while since i’ve seen a production performed outside of a traditional theatre, not since the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last August, so couldn’t wait to see how it would work.

National Youth Theatre underneath the  fabulous artwork: “Suspended” at St James’s Church Piccadilly   Credit: Mark Cocksedge

On entering the venue, it was very reminiscent of being at the Edinburgh Fringe, lots of people were lined up outside with tickets, waiting to be seated, with the anticipation of what you were going to be greeted with inside.

The photograph above, is exactly what we saw as we entered the church/performance venue – my mouth dropped open – it looked amazing! 😮

I was fortunate to be given a  second aisle seat in the ‘Press’ section of the church, so had an amazing view.

As I sat down, the little Catholic girl in me, was half expecting a priest to appear and start hosting mass, but the distraction of the set of fridge freezer, sofa and chair strategically arranged on the altar, come, stage made it clear that this was not “mass time”.

The Story

The main story follows Yasmin and her relationship with her half-sisters. They have recently lost their mother and Yasmin‘s sisters wish her to assist with the mounting debts that her family can’t keep up with due to their recent bereavement.

But Yasmin has a flat and bills of her own, with her  own issues.

We follow Yasmin as fate has her meet Rabea, a refugee from Syria, who ends up lodging on the couch of her small South London flat, a decision which angers her sisters, who believe she should be helping them, not some foreign stranger!

 

Take a peek at the trailer…

My Thoughts

This play is powerful, as you can probably tell from the trailer, the action starts immediately, there’s no slow build up, (I liked that).

The language is quite adult, with few swear words in the script.

This play doesn’t shy away from difficult themes – Brexit, being Mixed-Race in a White family, Half-Siblings, Family, Refugees, Loyalty, Trust amongst others.

At first, I thought that Yasmin was being selfish, not assisting her sisters, the best she could, but then when we learn of her own underlying issues, about the way she feels about her position amongst her siblings, it’s easier to understand her reservations.

The cast has only 5 characters, and I loved that the script allowed for us to get to know each one individually, it was very cleverly written.

All the actors were fantastic, but I must give a special mention for Rebekah Murrell who played Yasmin and Zakaria Douglas-Zerouali played Rabea were outstanding in every scene, especially the scenes when it was just the two of them.

Rebekah Murrell who played Yasmin and Zakaria Douglas-Zerouali played Rabea National Youth Theatre – The Host at St James’s Church Piccadilly –  Credit: Mark Cocksedge

It was a shame that it only ran for 3 days at St James Church, Piccadilly, but I have heard rumours that it will be returning later on in the year…so keep your eyes open for announcements.

I 100% want to see this show again, preferably with the same cast, any other cast have some VERY BIG shoes to fill!

Amazing play, fantastic script and very talented actors = Perfect show!

One of my favourite plays – hands down!

As soon as I get an update on it’s return I will preview it on the site 🙂

Chanel 🙂

Chanel Williams

Ps: The gorgeous installation art above the stage is Suspended by Arabella Dorman

Art Installation – Suspended by Arabella Dorman at St James Church Piccadilly. Credit-Mark-Cocksedge.

The Host by Nessah Muthy will be appearing at St James’s Church Piccadilly alongside this amazing installation artwork – Suspended, by Arabella Dorman. Composed of hundreds of items of clothing that have been discarded by refugees upon their arrival on the island of Lesbos, a stilled explosion has been created over the nave at St James’s Church inviting the viewer to contemplate the violent fragmentation experienced by the inhabitants of these garments.

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