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The Theatreguide.London Review

Going Through
Bush Theatre  Spring 2019

There is an emblematic simplicity to Estelle Savasta's Going Through, here in a translation by Kirsten Hazel Smith. It is a story of an unaccompanied young girl travelling across countries without permission from the authorities and only vaguely aware of the supposedly safe place she is being sent. It could be the story of any of the thousands of child migrants in a similar position every year.

The play opens to a stark rock landscape in an unnamed country where Youmna (Nadia Nadarajah) is caring for the young girl Nour (Charmaine Wombwell). Since Youmna is deaf they communicate by sign.

They have few possessions and when the local school is closed to girls and across the horizon appear the flashes of explosion, Youmna decides it's time Nour left the country.

Dressed as a boy Nour travels to England by car, by bus and secretly attached to the underside of a lorry. The dangers of her journey include 'moustached men with guns' taking people off the bus to an unknown fate, and a frantic run with others across a border while being fired at. The child traffickers remain vague and ambiguous.

The confidently performed piece is played out against a brilliant set design by Rajha Shakiry that includes movable huge rock-like slabs upon which are projected text and at times aspects of a location such as the bus in which Nour travels and an English government van emblazoned with a hostile message telling people to go home.

The mood of the play is generally upbeat and there are occasional moments of dramatic tension but there are no real surprises in what audiences will feel is a familiar picture told gently with simplicity by Nour who, not being afraid to take her time, for instance twice lists Youmna's twenty five possessions.

But then this is a sympathetic child migrant's story that many will find moving even as others grow restless in their seats.

Keith McKenna

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Review -  Going Through - Bush Theatre 2019