REVIEW - Nassim (Theatre) [Travfest23, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023]
From Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour comes an audacious experiment. No rehearsals. No preparation. Just a sealed envelope and an actor reading a script for the first time.
One of the main draws of 'Nassim' is that it features a different performer on stage for each show. Some superstars who have already read 'Nassim' include Whoopi Goldberg and Nathan Lane; and here at the Traverse Theatre as part of Travfest 23: Christopher Ecclestone and Gary Tank commander himself, Greg McHugh. At the performance I attended, the brave actor leaping into the unknown was 'Fighting with My Family', 'The Gold' and 'Slow Horses' star, Jack Lowden.
Lowden was undeniably hesitant and nervous at the start. Walking on to a stage with no idea what was about happen, with 300 people staring, must be unnerving for a professional actor with a reputation to uphold. But he quickly realised that the audience was on his side, and together we navigated the script, the stage directions and the surprises of Soleimanpour's play.
Part autobiography, part language lesson, 'Nassim' is both comical and powerful. It's very cleverly written and presented, and manages to be both light-hearted and powerful. To say anything else about the plot or staging would ruin the impact of the piece.
It's such a rare opportunity to see an actor, unrehearsed, unprotected almost, on stage - and Jack Lowden was just as sweet, charismatic and down to earth as you would expect him to be. But he's also a skilled actor and beautiful narrator. Despite not knowing the script nor the Farsi language, he absolutely gave it his all. Lowden quickly built a rapport with the audience; and he also seemed to breathe a sigh of relief the further he dove into the script and began building a rapport with the playwright and his work.
Nassim is at its heart, a story about a boy, about how language can both separate and unite us, and how friendship can be found in a theatre. Having made many good friends in the theatre myself, this is a message I can firmly get behind! I'd be fascinated to see this play performed again, as every actor will bring their own personality and own style to the stage. However if I don't, I'm very happy to have witnessed this delightful version.
Nassim is a unique and compelling piece of theatre; an experiment it may be, but it's a heart-warming, well judged one.
When and Where?
Venue: Traverse Theatre - Traverse 1
Date: Until Sun 27 August 2023
Duration: 1h 15 mins
Age guide: 12+
- Christopher Eccleston Tue 22 Aug
- Greg McHugh Wed 23 Aug
- Hannah Lavery Thu 24 Aug
- Jack Lowden Fri 25 Aug
- Rose Matafeo Sat 26 Aug
- Apphia Campbell Sun 27 Aug
Winner of a Fringe First and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience, NASSIM has been performed by a host of theatre, TV and film stars including Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Tim Crouch, Juliet Stevenson, David Greig, Cush Jumbo and Tracy Letts – to name just a few.
📸 Photo credit: Helen Murray
🌟REVIEW - Nassim (Theatre) [Travfest23, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023]🌟
🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.
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