REVIEW – Different is Dangerous (The Lowry)

Date: 14 may 2015
Upstaged Rating: 

Different is Dangerous aims to give a unique insight into the lives of the Asian community living in Leeds. Devised and performed by Fadia Qaraman and Nyla Levy of Two’s Company, the piece aims to explore multicultural life, the challenges of ethnicity and present the voices of Asian Leeds locals.

Qaraman and Levy use a combination of fictional monologues and a technique called headphone verbatim as a means of presenting these personal stories from within the Asian community living in Leeds. The idea is that the performers each wear a set of headphones which relays an audio script to them – each actor then aims to recite this audio script not only word for word but with exact precision, capturing the nuances and speech patterns of the original interviewee. The idea is that there is as much information embedded in the way somebody speaks as the words that they actually use.

Setting is very minimalist consisting of just four chairs and Qaraman and Levy only have 2 scarfs as props, but this is the idea of this type of theatre – it is not meant to be highly visual. Both performers shift between the different characters with ease as they tackle subjects such as unprovoked attacks, relationships and politics. The two creator-performers also reveal some controversial viewpoints as well as some lighthearted and humourous conversation.

Qaraman and Levy certainly manage to keep the audience listening throughout the full 50 minute experience. And despite the performance style not being highly visual, you do still manage to get lost in the everyday voices, opinions and beliefs of the community in Leeds.

Different is Dangerous certainly succeeds in getting people to think and discuss cultural identity in Britain, raising the profile of a topic that some people still feel uncomfortable talking openly about.

-Kristy Stott