Eye of a Needle at Southwark PlayhouseCultureTheatre
In a busy immigration office, the work pace has increased: phones are ringing, emails are arriving and meetings are being held. New employee Laurence has to quickly adapt to the harsh tactics of judging who is to stay and who is to go. In many cases, he has to judge who is to live and who is to die.
In the middle of this, Ugandan political activist Natale drops in her visa application and Laurence gets the job of appraising her fate. A convincing story of how she is being stalked for her preferences of women instead of men unravels. In her home country homosexuality is highly illegal, and staying would very likely result in her death. Laurence, more naïve than his strict boss Ted, sympathises with the woman, and in trying to separate right from wrong the two of them develop a relationship outside of the normal borders between a detainee and an immigration office worker.
Eye of a Needle discusses a highly current topic, with right-wing parties growing all over Europe due to systems of immigration lacking in functionality. Along with environmental problems, this seem to be the issue the next generation is going to have to deal with. This show describes how the answer to this problem is far from easy, and how no one is to blame.
The actors captivate the audience from the start, with witty lines and jokes between the rows of plastic chairs in the waiting room. This play is a comedy in the sense that is has the crowd laughing repeatedly and loud, but is first and foremost a tragedy, depicting the extreme trauma so many people live with each day. It is in the latter range of feeling that the cast lightly lack persuasion, leaving the quiet, grievous scenes hollow. Despite this, Ony Uhiara alongside Stephen Hudson are the stars of the show, though all actors deliver a great performance. Together they land a play that will linger in the minds of the viewers, and perhaps wake one another regarding the immigration issue.
Eye of a Needle is on at Southwark Playhouse until 20th September 2014, for further information or to book visit here.