Thursday, 12 August 2004

I Am Mohammed's Brother by M. Sonny Rehe , Aug 12, 2004

I Am Mohammed's Brother by M. Sonny Rehe 
Where and When: La Mama  12 to 22 August, 2004
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 12

I Am Mohammed's Brother is most interesting for its content about an Iraqi asylum seeker and his journey from Iraq to Australia.

He script, by M. Sonny Rehe, fails to deliver the full potential of its story. The structure is unsophisticated and expository. Much of the dialogue is informational rather than theatrical.

The direction by Rehe with Belle Armstrong, lacks style and theatricality, reducing the dramatic tension by inserting between scenes, continual black outs and awkward movement of furniture.

The tale was inspired by a refugee's story. Mohammed, (Goran Boskovski) is a restless, adventurous young Iraqi who dreams of escaping Sadaam's tyrannical regime.

His Brother, (Majid Shokor) is older, politically active and committed to ousting Sadaam without foreign assistance. For this reason he is a target for persecution.

Mohammed convinces his brother to escape alone to the golden land of Australia and from there to bring Mohammed and their mother to safety.

However, their best laid plans go awry. Asylum seeker, the brother discovers, are not welcomed with open arms in Australia. After his boat sank off North-West Australia, he is held in detention.

Mohammed meets a bloody end when he welcomes the allies into Baghdad.

There are resonant references and parallels drawn between the plight of Jews seeking refuge after World War Two.

We hear telling snippets of information about our refugee policy,

Opinions and facts are given about America's financial and military relationship with Iraq in the last decades and about America's decision not to remove Sadaam after the Gulf War..

The performance of Shokor is engaging in its truthfulness and Boskovski is convincing as the energetic and hopeful Mohammed.

The role of narrator (Lee Mason) is at times awkward and didactic.

The Immigration Officer (Clayton Bitaks) serves to provide some information about refugee assessment in Australia. However, is too close to parody to be effective and jars with the seriousness of the rest of the play

I Am Mohammed's Brother tackles important issues about refugees, government policy, family, loss and war. However, both the script and this production need development.

LOOK FOR: Information about Iraqi refugees in Australia.

By Kate Herbert f

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