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Castaways adrift in a sea of social storm

Castaways, Belgrade B2 Theatre, Coventry, until 18 May.

Sam, Kieran and Asha are three teenage best friends who have grown up together and are inseparable, until tragedy strikes, shattering their world so that nothing can ever be the same again.

The play performed in the Belgrade B2 Theatre was staged by the Mandala Theatre Company, written by Atiha Sen Gupta and directed by Yasmin Sidhwa.

The Mandala Theatre Company is an Oxford based Community Interest Company that uses the power of theatre to change lives, build community and foster social justice.

Although the storyline is a little predictable, it tackles a whole stack of cultural and emotional issues: friendship, betrayal, anger, grief, racism, vulnerability and more, and the three teenage actors played their roles superbly. Yasmin Ahsanuliah (Asha), Jonathan Clarke-Hesson (Sam) and Andy Greaves (Kieran) certainly deserved the applause at the end of the 80-minute performance that runs without a break.

The use of background film footage and musical effects adds to the atmosphere and the progression of the story. And as the characters of Sam, Kieran and Asha react to the situation they find themselves in, the three actors put on powerful individual performances.

My only criticism is that for the first five or six minutes of the play, the actors didn’t deliver their lines as clearly as they could have. This, I felt was because there was lots of interaction and activity as these three teens had fun, bounded about and took selfies of each other. However, that’s a minor point in a very well produced performance. And the more the story progressed, the more riveting it became.

It’s a thought provoking play, and it was interesting to have the actors back on stage at the end along with the director and other relevant people for an audience/panel discussion about some of the issues raised. Thought provoking indeed.

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