Two parallel stories of immigration merge and diverge, coalesce and bounce off each other, in this creative, entertaining and well-written piece of theatre. Performed by sisters Anne and Sophie Bertreau of Giantswi Company from France, we navigate the lives of Camille – who has left behind France to move to London – and Nayssam, who has moved to France with a suitcase full of dreams.
It's a timely piece. As more and more people become global citizens, the challenges they face as immigrants are ever more part of everyone's lives. Their stories are diverse, and it is these positive and negative experiences that form the fabric of modern society.
Here, Camille misses her home, which she left behind to be with her husband Pierre and his ‘great career’ in London. But as she begins to have trouble with her baby at a late stage in pregnancy, she must rely on total strangers to ensure the safety of her and her child. Contrast this to Nayssam, who quits her job at Disneyland over a misunderstanding and, as sensitivity rises against Muslims in France, finds herself facing discrimination – even danger.
The two stories are performed in alternating sequences and they balance perfectly, coming to a climax at the same time, then using a single event to intertwine the two storylines. Both actors are very talented, and using no props, hold the audience’s attention throughout the performance. This production is proof that a quality script on a simple theme goes a long way.
The ending felt a bit abrupt, however. The show was going so well; it almost felt like the thread was dropped, as the performance finished over ten minutes early. I would have enjoyed a slightly more nuanced ending, maybe offering a bit more in terms of closure – especially for Nayssam's storyline.
One could argue though, that if the show is based on true stories, it is true to life: Camille’s would end as shown, and Nayssam's would be harder to close out simply because her concerns are broader. In any case, this is a well-written and hard-hitting piece of international theatre.