Respect: Lutz Hübner: English version translated by Zoë Svendsen
The Door: Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Tkts: 0121 236 4455
Runs: 1h 30m: no interval: 22 Apr to 8 May 2010
Start: 7.00 p.m.
Review: Jan Pick: 27.4.10
Day trip to disaster.
This psychological thriller by Lutz Hubner based on real events in Germany, explores the difficulties of living and growing up in two cultures. Banned in Germany, it is now receiving its British premiere and is a grippingly dramatic expose of the frailties of a system that has failed to integrate and assimilate its ethnic population, or challenge areas where cultural clashes lead to dangerous assumptions and expectations.
Respect is a play about the inability to cope with two different lifestyles and belief structures. Brought up in the Turkish tradition in a Western culture, Cem and Sinan, the two protagonists, despite all their efforts, remain ultimately outsiders. For Sinan, the answer to his problems is to return to Turkey, where he will be ‘respected’, while Cem is desperately attempting to deal with the challenge to his beliefs of what constitutes a respectable woman, suitable for marriage, with the reality of falling in love with a girl his family would find totally unacceptable.
When the two young men take two young women out for a daytrip to Cologne, the fun ends in tragedy. Through the probing of Kobert, the state psychologist, the audience revisit the events and their causes trying to unravel the complex strands of provocation, denial and reasoning that have led to the disaster.
The two level set is simplistic yet very effective working well for all the action, as Tim Wyatt’s Kobert, the play’s anchor figure, delicately steers the revelations and reveals the viewpoint and vulnerability of the protagonists. In this he is helped by two excellent performances from Naoufal Ousellam and Simon Silva, young men as much victims of their society as perpetrators. Ousellam’s Cem is frightening in his entrenched certainties, and Silva’s Sinan pathetic in his hopelessness. Jessica Clark as Ulli, the survivor, conveys her immaturity, weakness and essential innocence, and Rebecca Louden shines as the rebellious Elena, skilfully eliciting our sympathy even as we are slightly repelled by her behaviour. Ninety minutes fly by in this perceptive examination of the demands of two competing cultures and the consequences of the failure to fully integrate the ideals of one with the demands of the other.
Ulli: Jessica Clark
Elena: Rebecca Loudon
Cem: Naoufal Ousellam
Sinan: Simon Silva
Kobert: Tim Wyatt
Director: Rae McKen
Designer: Libby Watson
Lighting Designer: Simon Bond
Sound Designer: Clive Meldrum
Casting Director: Alison Solomon
Assistant Director: Robert Cameron
Fight Director: Terry King
Production Manager: Tomas Wright
Stage Manager: Gabriel Bartlett
DSM: Laura Levis