Tom Coash’s Cry Havoc is one of the most engrossing pieces of theatre I’ve seen this season, with breathtaking performances by the two male leads Marc Antolin as Nicolas Field and James El-Sharawy as Mohammed El-Masri, plus with Karren Winchester as Ms Nevers. The chemistry between the men is incredible with both of them exuding a moody charm that is just stunning to watch.
Cry Havoc, set in Egypt, is about acceptance, and certainly a comment on that country’s political situation, the abuse of power, religious persecution, propaganda, knowing how the system works, playing to the rules to achieve your goals and the effects of a cultural clash.
Director Pamela Schermann’s smooth style of directing is perfect with the clever use of fade-outs and fade-ins heightening the raw emotions expressed by the two men. Their frustration and passion is beautifully explored. Field is desperate to get his lover El-Masri out of Egypt because he has been brutalised, raped, arrested and put in prison for being gay and his father has disowned him. On a visit to the British Embassy to apply for a visa for his lover he is interviewed by Ms Nevers and this is where Coash’s script is really brilliant. He gives the character of Ms Nevers fabulous one liners that add a comic element to the play especially around the issues of immigration and how people get into the UK.
This is a love story, including the discovery of one’s self, expertly and magically told and reinforces the belief that love is worth fighting for – but the outcome may not be what you expect. Mesmerising, believable theatre and highly recommended.
Photos by Lidia Crisafulli