Showtime from the Frontline by Mark Thomas, Theatre Royal Stratford East | Review

Showtime From The Frontline
Theatre Royal Stratford
Reviewed on Tuesday 10th April 2018 by Nicola Louise 

Walking into the Theatre Royal Stratford East, you're greeted with a medium sized board with images projected on it with a no smoking poster written in Arabic and a no guns sign with tape around the wall, the three chairs sitting on the stage await the comedians. The set is basic and unchanging but there is still a wonderful atmosphere.

Mark Thomas walks on stage followed by Faisel Abu Alhayjaa and Alaa Shehada, the introductions begin and the comedic race begins.

Showtime from the Frontline is a story telling performance based on Thomas's experience in the Jenin refugee camp, Palestine. He tells the story of how he came to be in the camp and how the comedy workshop was set up to bring comedy and laughter to the Middle East. 

Setting up a comedy workshop in a Palestine refugee camp was never going to be easy, but with the help of Thomas's very funny and talented students, Alhayjaa and Shehada, it became a ride to remember. The audience are taken on a journey right into the heart of the workshop and are shown and told exactly how this was done.

The show never slows the pace, and from beginning to end you're captivated, wanting to know how the story transpires. With real life footage of other students within the camp and workshop, the show is both hilarious and thought provoking.

Showtime from the Frontline highlights the struggles facing Palestine with Israel in a way that's light-hearted but also shines a light on the real life issues going on.

Ending it's tour at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until the 21st of April I couldn't think of anywhere better for such a performance of it's kind.

photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

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