Soho Theatre, Half Breed (C) Photos: The Other Richard & Soho Theatre
The local pub serves as a magnifying glass on racist attitudes
Half Breed tells the story of Jazmin. Jazmin is the only "black" in the village and she feels different. She is made aware of that difference every day. She wants to escape from her village and start a new life in London. Her one true friend and her grandmother are the only people who keep her tied to her village life. Without them she would have probably escaped a long time ago. This one-woman show powerfully tells the story of how Jazmin is forced to navigate through spaces that constantly remind her of her difference.
Even with her best friend (Brogan), the issue of safety - defined through the desire to settle down and stay in one place makes her different. Their shared safe space becomes a place of realisation and truth for both of them. The local pub serves as a magnifying glass on racist attitudes and forces Jazmin to face her inner struggles.
The constant querying of identity and nationality combined with direct racism means that this is a performance made to make us uncomfortable.
This play is a brave and bold narrative on what it means to be an ethnic minority in England - specifically outside of London. The constant querying of identity and nationality combined with direct racism means that this is a performance made to make us uncomfortable. It is through our discomfort that we are forced to face the truth of racism (both overt and covert) in British society. I appreciated Natasha Marshall's portrayal of Jazmin; interspersing dark comedy and a sometimes-poetic script with layered monologues made this a powerful production. The use of stage design and lighting brought many poignant moments to life.
It would have been good to see more introspection with regards to being a mixed race woman; whilst it was there, it was sometimes, overshadowed by the latter, more disruptive scenes in the pub. This is a play about finding your voice and Natasha Marshall challenges us to find our own here and for that I applaud her!
Info: Half Breed is at Soho Theatre until 21 April before going on a UK tour from 24 April – 9 June 2108.