My Friend Selma
Eden Court- One Touch Theatre
This is a one woman theatre show that tells the remarkable story of Selma, an eight year old girl and her family. It recounts their journey from a war torn Bosnia in 1992 to an Old Boarding house in Leeds, which was set up by Victoria’s father who created a charity called called aLERT to help refugees.
With only a silver climbing frame as a prop, Victoria Beesley begins this play through the eyes of Selma, who is a normal child that likes collecting conkers with her fried Eska, playing with her cat and spending time with her family and grandmother. Selma’s sister is ill, and things begin to change when the hospital she is recieving treatment gets attacked, they narrowly escape, and then begin a perilous jurney, which includes the family having to swim across a freezing river, trying to find a hospital that will help them before they finally board a coach to the UK. Here she meets Vicky, who’s family had moved into the boarding school to help the refugees settle in, and despite language barriers they bond immediatly and have been firm friends ever since.
I took my son to see this, he is just eight, I did wonder how he would react and cope with the narrative, and as the play began with quite a sparse set, I worried whether it would manage to keep his attention. However these fears were aleviated as Victoria managed to capture and portay the thoughts of a child quite beleivably, she covered what was at times a sad and harrowing tale in a delicate way, with lots of fun and humour interspersed. The play moved at a good pace and the climbing frame was used in such a clever way, with the actress lifting the frame, turning it on its side, precariously sitting on top of it and hanging upside down to emphasise parts of the story.
Although this was set over 20 years ago, this a really important peice of work and very relevant today due to the recent refugee crisis. It gives a real idea of what people face when they are displaced by war and have to leave their family, friends and lives behind. We really enjoyed it and gave us a lot of food for thought and an interactive website to explore afterwards. Definitely worth a watch on the remainder of its Scottish tour. FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Zoe Gwynne