The Reluctant Fundamentalist at the Yard Theatre
Theatre has a bright future. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a beautiful play featuring the stars of tomorrow.
Adapted from the international bestseller by Mohsin Hamid, the story becomes a deep, engaging work about a Pakistani man’s rise up the ranks of corporate America before ultimately abandoning it. This is a personal tale told in the most intimate way by the protagonist, Changez. With the audience gathered in his brother’s Lahore cafe, the Changez discusses his life, who he has loved and who he is.
Stephanie Street’s writing is brilliant. Even with a bare bones set, her words transport theatre-goers to Pakistan, to New York, to Princeton. Street’s adaptation is at times entertaining and at others haunting, but beautiful throughout. A clever use of lighting further builds up the atmosphere and tension, proving that there is no need for a large West End setup to create a bit of magic. And speaking of magic, breathing life into the words is an unbelievable cast, who are all under 25. It is easy to think that youth theatre means more amateurish but the young actors in The Reluctant Fundamentalist would give some of the most seasoned theatre stars a run for their money.
Akshay Sharan, as Changez, is incredible. He controls the room with his performance, truly becoming the character and unleashing his thoughts, feelings and memories on the audience. The rest of the cast is fantastic too. Alice Harding leaves spectators breathless with her portrayal of Erica, while Muhammad Khan is brilliantly entertaining as Changez’s brother.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is surprisingly brilliant. The young cast is so talented and make a deep connection with the audience. This play has plenty of important things to say and it certainly says them well, exploring identity and self-realisation, but it’s worth watching simply for being a wonderfully entertaining and intimate piece of theatre.
Photo: Helen Maybanks
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is at the Yard Theatre from 8th until 12th August 2017. For further information or to book visit here.