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Hurling Rubble at the Sun

by Avaes Mohammad

The Times | ★★★★

Although billed as companion pieces and with separate directors,Hurling Rubble at the Sun and Hurling Rubble at the Moon flow as a single two-act play — don’t see one without the other. Set in Blackburn after 9/11, the story follows T, the son of an imam, and Skef, the son of an English Defence League thug. T begins as a kid smoking weed and listening to Tupac and ends by blowing himself up on 7/7; Skef begins as a kid smoking weed and stealing shopping trolleys and ends as a BNP monster.

Nationalism, multiculturalism, terrorism, the future of the human race: all relevant and vital, yet the Bradford-born playwright Avaes Mohammad is too elegant and humorous to make a meal of it. He takes this gnashing subject and releases it into the minutiae of the everyday, sets it on sofas of suburban living rooms and front seats of Vauxhall Corsas. It is in essence a story of two boys whose loneliness becomes toxic.

The directors Rod Dixon and Jez Bond are equally deft with detail. While the characters are cartoonish enough to feel instantly familiar, their pull is in their domesticity: they fiddle with TV remotes and eat cucumbers, exasperate and enjoy each other with close-breathing intimacy. Dixon’s Hurling Rubble at the Sun provides the most arresting moment, which is no more than a mother feeding rice to her son.

Bharti Patel is excellent as that mother, while Ragevan Vasan as T and Jim English as Skef also stand out, alongside Dinita Gohil as the adorable Major. The final scene is not altogether successful: pregnancy acting — huffing and waddling and the excessive stroking of a strap-on belly — always risks resumption of disbelief. Nonetheless it manages to be claustrophobic and appalling enough for the Park’s sharp urban audience to leave the theatre rattled.

Time Out | ★★★★
"Powerful... chilling" (Full review)

A Younger Theatre
"You need to see these plays" (Full review)