“The Host” is an up to the minute play, set in a council block in Croydon. Nominally about refugees and our response to them, it is also about the meaning of family, and about cultural identity.
It is a well written play with colourful, but current, language. It is excellently performed by the 5 member cast. Rebekah Murrell and Zakary Douglas-Zerouali have a great chemistry as the two leads Yasmin and Rabea. Rebekah plays Yasmin with a nervous intensity, full of (mostly) repressed anger. This is balanced well with Rabea’s more resigned accepting nature.
Nessah Muthy, the playwright, is on this year’s BBC new talent hotlist. On this form, you can see why, although some of the issues felt unresolved, and the finale felt a little like the end of the first act, the script is good and she has a great ear for the rhythms of conversation.
The set and direction are good, the messy, claustrophobic flat is simply set up and, having the offstage cast on view at the back made us feel that we were never far from our neighbours.
This is the final play in the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain’s enjoyable East End Season at the Yard Theatre. I hope they repeat the idea next year. However, they are doing a revival of “Zigger, Zagger”, the play about football hooliganism at the Wilton’s Music Hall early next month. I am looking forward to seeing it!