La Bohème, Sat 20 Feb
Created and performed by Randa Sayed, this show has been described as Islamic and sexy, and odd as it may seem, they are both apt descriptions. We were all offered bread and homemade humus as we entered the charming La Bohème – in quaint contrast to the rather more intimate audience interaction later in proceedings.
There’s a lot going on in this delightful piece of serious nonsense. Mime, dialogue, voice over narration, comedy, clowning and dance are all employed to reveal how a devout young Muslim woman is transformed like a chrysalis exploding from her cocoon into a raunchy predator seeking men in bars and nightclubs. (Mis)guided by her risk taking conscience she follows a path that takes her further away from Allah and closer to the physical closeness she craves from people who aren’t hamstrung by having to pray five times a day.
It’s a very funny and poignant, albeit extreme, expose of what many young Muslims must face as Randa Sayed dances and prowls among the audience like Beyoncé looking for her man. While she certainly overcomes her fears about how to do the dating game she is left in a quandary as to what to do about her relationship with Allah. She appears to have resolved it to some degree by the end of the play but that is open to interpretation.
Heavily satirical, Experience And The Girl compresses what in reality would take months, but therein lies the humour. As the Imams no doubt preach it’s as if the mere thought of carnal pleasures brings down the whole Islamic house of cards overnight.
Experience And The Girl is a daring statement. We have all heard what can happen to those who challenge Islamic orthodoxy in public, but it is not Islam so much that is the target here. It is more about how young Muslims reconcile traditional beliefs with the secular world that surrounds them.
Randa Sayed is a wonderful performer. Great entertainment. Funny and very serious all at once.
Experience And The Girl continues at La Bohème from 7pm until Sun 28 Feb.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.