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Love in the present climate.
I Wanna Be Yours, the Bush Theatre’s latest production in their studio theatre is a pure delight. This captivating co-production from Tamasha and Paines Plough is a remarkably funny and touching exploration of love in the present climate.
Beautifully written by North Londoner Zia Ahmed who is part of the London Laureates, having been shortlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate 2015/16. He is presently writer in residence with at Paines Plough as part of Channel 4’s playwriting scheme and is in the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers group 2018/19.
I Wanna Be Yours is a tender and lyrical play, stylishly directed by Anna Himali Howard, in the confines of the studio theatre, against a simple curtain backdrop. It gives an intimate view of Ella and Haseeb’s flourishing romance and their attempt to navigate the difficulties of an inter-racial relationship and embrace their cultural differences.
There’s something rather magical being witness to a couple falling in love; the meeting, tentative at first, nervous of saying the wrong things, desperate to make a good impression, only to be seized the intoxication and excitement and then the fall, the delicious fall.
Ella is an actress from Yorkshire, living in South London and juggling 3 jobs to make ends meet when she meets Haseeb, a young aspiring poet from North London at a workshop, after which their relationship slowly develops. Ahmed’s poignant love story is punctuated by a great soundtrack…as we journey with Ella and Haseem, sharing pizza, discovering the problems of the North-South divide, meeting the parents, Christmas, Eid and making playlists. “I think I’m falling in love with you.” But the course of true love never did run smooth especially with an elephant (Andre the elephant in this case) in the room.
It is exceptionally well performed by the three hand cast – Emily Stott gives a wonderfully honest and dynamic portrayal of the sparky Ella and Ragevan Vasan is both endearing and vibrant as Haseeb. Rachael Merry acts as interpreter, integrating British Sign Language fluidly into the piece, she cleverly weaves in and around the action, gently interacting with the characters, at times acting as their reflection.
The movement is directed with delightful synchronicity by Jennifer Jackson, it plays an important role throughout the play as it mirrors Ella and Haseem’s relationship as they slowly become in sync with each other’s worlds, striving to make them fit, slowly at first then finding their pace, in what proves to be a beautifully tender interpretation of love without as much as a kiss passing between them.
However, no matter how hard they try to live in their own lovely love bubble, racism rears its ugly head. Haseeb is pigeonholed, not only by the wider world but Ella’s family, Ella and Haseem rally against it, but the cracks appear and the elephant grows.
I Wanna Be Yours is a thoroughly modern love story, directed with a remarkable sensitivity…. it’s innovative, poetic and utterly charming.
I Wanna Be Yours is playing at the Bush Theatre Studio until 18 January
This show has integrated British Sign Language throughout.
7 Uxbridge Rd,
London W12 8LJ
Phone: 020 8743 5050
Also showing at the Bush Theatre is The Arrival – check our review