JOYCE MCMILLAN on MY NAME IS… at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 2.6.14.
4 stars ****
BACK IN 2006, when the 12-year-old schoolgirl known as Molly Campbell disappeared from her home on Lewis, the British media were quick to jump to the conclusion that she had been “kidnapped” and taken back to Pakistan by her father, a Scottish Pakistani man who found himself framed as a Muslim fundamentalist planning to force his young daughter into marriage.
It soon became clear, though, that the truth was more complicated, and that Molly – or Misbah – had chosen to return to Pakistan to live with her father, brothers and sisters, following her parents’ bitter divorce. And in a quiet, persistent and unspectacular style, Sudha Bhuchar’s new 90-minute play about the case for Tamasha theatre, playing at the Tron as part of the Mayfesto season, gives full weight to the complexity of the story.
Bhuchar’s technique is essentially to present a fictionalised version of the story, in with different names, but nonetheless to base it almost entirely on verbatim interviews with Misbah and her parents; and to let the three characters speak through entwined monologues, while also physically interacting against a subtly-lit domestic background. The effect is simple, but absolutely gripping, drawing superb and sometimes heart-rending performances from Karen Bartke, Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar; and Bhuchar and director Philip Osment have created a drama of terrific integrity, power and sadness, about a young couple who met and fell in love in Glasgow in what seemed like simpler times, only to be driven apart by forces far beyond their control, and to become pawns in a new global game of cultural warfare, division, and hatred.