Mohand & Peter. Southwark Playhouse, the Little, 77 Newington Causeway, London SE1 to 2 April 2022. 4****. William Russell

Mohand Hasb Airosal Abdalrahem is from the Sudan. Peter Pearson comes for Newcastle. They belong to Psychie Insight, a participating theatre company founded by Sophie Bertrand Bresse which promotes diversity and social inclusion and one of its objectives is to challenge the negative narrative often associated with refugees. Mohand & Peter is their latest show in which Mohand takes Peter back to the Sudan, a land in dire trouble since the ousting of the dictator Omar Al basher in 2019. They recount their adventures through words, mime, and every sort of performance art effect you can imagine. The picture for this is of them travelling in a bus – and when night time comes two little lights pop up below the top frame. The illusion works. There is a stunning one when they end up in the Nile and nearly drown created by the simplest of methods, and when they turn themselves into camels, well you believe. As for becoming a crocodile, Peter conjures one up with a gesture or two, while when the need milk a cow suddenly appears, a ride then a donkey . The props are simple, and retried from a large box as needed, which also serves as restrum on which they can stand. The show is funny, consistently entertaining and in their very different ways they are beguiling performers – whether one learns all that much about the strife ridden Sudan is problematical, but at least you leave knowing that it is a land where life is hard, the police can be brutal, the innocent can end up dead and the people worth getting to know. Mohand is quirky, annoying, can take the huff but always comes back smiling while Peter clearly spends some of his time wondering just how he ended up in Sudan. The result is pure performance theatre and even although it is a little opaque it does get its message across. The countries from which the refugees have come are places where people have their homes.
Mohand Hasb Airosol Abdairahem
Peter Pearson.

Director: Sophie Betrand Besse.
Set Designer: Ioana Curelea.
Sound Design: Remy Bertrand with the precious participation of MOhand/s family and friend in Sudan.
Light Design: Andrew Brock.
Photography: Jose Farinha.

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