Blue Mist at the Royal Court Theatre
Mohamed-Zain Dada’s debut play Blue Mist invites the audience to enter a shisha cafe and witness the unfolding of a story about friendship, while also learning about a world rarely discussed in mainstream media.
Three young British Pakistani men share their jokes, fears and aspirations within the safe walls of “Chunkyz”, which is not just a lounge bar where youth meet to smoke, but a second home where they can be themselves. Here, they vent about personal frustrations and discuss the issues they encounter within the Muslim community but also in relation to Western culture.
Jihad (Omar Bynon) is an aspiring journalist who had all but given up on his dream when his friends convince him to take up an opportunity to make a documentary. Rashid (Arian Nik) and Asif (Salman Akhtar) excitedly brainstorm ideas for their friend, and the documentary becomes the new focus of their endless banter. In the end, the topic they settle on is the shisha cafe itself, since many people don’t realise how important it is for their community. The execution of the project brings a lot more to the surface than what was intended, and the media outlet that commissioned the documentary seems to have its own racist agenda. Jihad finds himself having to make a difficult choice, since succeeding in his career may mean betraying his friends.
The play is at its most authentic when it portrays the sense of camaraderie between the boys, and the dialogue will likely entertain and resonate with many youths of a similar background. Beyond the free-flowing, comedy-ridden chatter, the plot itself is rather flat and overly didactic in many places. The trio of actors are excellent at bringing to life three very distinct personalities, but the structure of the play and the theatrical devices employed come across as underdeveloped.
Although lacking in depth, Blue Mist is refreshing in that it tackles interesting and pertinent themes and it does so with commitment, respect and a good dose of lightheartedness.
Images: Ali Wright
Blue Mist is at the Royal Court Theatre from 5th October until 18th November 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.