Pros: Funny, moving, well-written, and brought to life through the actors’ chemistry.
Cons: Can get a little close to the bone with some religious stereotypes.
Mush and Me is a charming and exceedingly well-written story about two young lovers from very different religious backgrounds. It tells the story of Mush (a devout Muslim) and Gabbi (a Jew of wavering faith and convictions owing to personal trauma) who, despite the odds and challenges that their conflicting faiths throw at them, fall in love in very ordinary and every day surroundings.
We go along with the star-crossed lovers as they meet, get closer, fall in love, and then begin to fall apart as the pressures of their differences throw up schisms in their relationship. These differences are not just from their religions, but more so the regard to which their families interpret their religion, and it is this familial loyalty that begins to divide the couple. It is educational, eye-opening, and intermixed with testimony from ‘real’ multi-faith couples which adds a dose of reality from within the stage setting. It’s a wonderful production. It is paced perfectly, and moves very well through a convincing portrayal of a relationship.
Jaz Deol’s Mush and Daniella Isaacs’s Gabbi are excellent. The chemistry between the two is absolutely electric, and the acting is top notch. Mush is an energetic and charming ‘rude boy’ with a tremendous dedication to his faith. Gabbi is an ambitious and slightly high-maintenance young woman who is struggling to uphold her religious upbringing after personal tragedy strikes her family. The two bring to life a vast range of emotions, and I was surprised to find myself in tears at a poignant point in the show (and I never cry at theatre productions.)
That’s not to say there isn’t joy and love in this production. The performance is wonderfully funny, and equally in reverence and depreciative towards the represented religions. Occasionally there are a few lines which seem thrown in to shock (they are either of a slightly illicit nature, a little close to being disrespectful or just loud for the sake of being loud). However, it could be that this awkwardness is just a part of the characters’ slightly nervous personalities as they explore unknown and rather scary territory.
It’s an interesting and relevant performance, and it is loaded with hope. Both Mush and Gabbi’s issues stem from their parents’ reluctance to ‘intermingle’ (to an extent) with other faiths, but they represent a new generation who are fighting off the rules passed on from previous generations. It’s such an important production, particularly given the tensions still ongoing in various parts of the world (and quite close to home, in Paris.)
In that vein, there’s something heartbreaking about the amount of security posted at the doors of the JW3, who do incredibly thorough bag searches before you can enter, that reminds the patrons just how relevant and topical a performance such as this is.
Go see it.
Author: Karla Crome
Director: Rosy Banham
Producer: Francesca Clark
Runs Until: The Show has finished its run at Jw3. Its next run will be from February 11 – March 15th in the Adelaide Fringe, at Holden Street Theatres.