Sababa – Northern Souls

Sababa – Northern Souls is a new play performed for two nights over Valentine’s weekend at St Werburgh’s Hall Theatre in Chorlton.    Unusually for a play, there were short presentations beforehand from the writer, and representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths.

By the writer, Nakib Narat:  “Sababa – Northern Souls” is intended to be an affectionate portrayal of Manchester Jewish and Muslim family life as well as an attempt to celebrate the cultural and religious ties that unite Muslims and Jews which are so often overlooked especially in times of Middle East strife.

This is a fascinating portrayal of the similarities and differences between two faiths.  Amir (Yas Rehman) is a Muslim for whom religion has lost its importance.  Miriam (played by the amazing Sophie Coward) wants to be a Rabbi.  Progress, or lack thereof, is represented by the parents’ more traditional views.  The question of how important different religious views are to our current world is treated with intelligence and respect.  Although some of the traditional ‘rom-com’ scenes are underdeveloped, there is good use of humour and wordplay, and some nice contrasts between the serious and lighthearted elements of the play.

As a production, this was well staged with inspired use of specially composed music.

At the heart of this play are fundamental questions about how we live as a multi-faith society in both Manchester and the wider world, and the need for tolerance and mutual respect.  There was a real community feel to the audience; this is an important part of what theatre in Manchester should be addressing.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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