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Review of Ready Or Not at the Arcola Theatre

Ready Or Not by Naylah Ahmed - Joan Blackham as Pat Adam Karim as Yusuf - Credit Robert Day
Ready Or Not by Naylah Ahmed – Joan Blackham as Pat Adam Karim as Yusuf – Credit Robert Day

Whoever kills a person [unjustly]… it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind” (Qur’an, 5:32). As the news reports on daily bombings, death and terror attacks, fear has seeped into our society like a virus. The subject of war haunts us all as we fear drone massacres, soldiers fighting and even the single racial murders happening in our home countries. Presented by Kali Theatre, Naylah Ahmed’s Ready Or Not forces us to take a deep look at our understanding of terrorism in our own countries.

Ready Or Not is a thought-provoking political thriller that questions our concepts of war and terror. When Yusuf (Adam Karim) awakes to find himself in the home of Pat (Joan Blackham), he soon learns he’s trapped with a mad woman. The unique character dynamic between Blackham and Karim is intriguing and gives the play a level of complexity not found in our daily lives.

With such an intelligent script, there was only one moment that ‘deflated’ a strong point about faith. Yusuf, although he had his weaknesses, appeared to be humble and worked toward good practice in his faith. Late in Act II, it was unfortunate to see Yusuf’s actions did not reflect his original beliefs from Act I. His character was written to be well-educated and strong in his beliefs. Yusuf lacked forgiveness – something our entire world needs to learn to act on.

We cannot change the news flashing on TV or stop the brainwashing ‘alternative facts’ on our social media feeds, but we can work on focusing more about what is morally correct. Ready Or Not shines a light on the generalisations and prejudices against Muslims, regardless of their beliefs. This play reminds us that now is the time to let go of revenge and become a more welcoming society – a place for forgiveness and a little less hate.

4 stars

Review by Aly Chromy

Ready Or Not

READY OR NOT is a pacy political thriller written by NAYLAH AHMED. The play is a chilling reflection of the chaotic political and social times we live in: Ahmed’s electrifying story sets out its claustrophobic stall in a small suburban house peopled by a handful of characters whose lives are inexorably tied together and whose hasty decisions leave them teetering on the edge of disaster. The play explores loss, guilt and the fallout from collateral damage in a warring world where there are no rules and the enemy could be anyone. The atmosphere is tense, the characters desperate, the fallout tragic.

The cast is led by prolific British stage and TV actress Joan Blackham.

Naylah Ahmed answers a few questions about the production:

Joan Blackham
Adam Karim
Natasha Rickman

Text – Naylah Ahmed
Direction – Helena Bell
Design – Sophia Lovell Smith & Rajha Shakiry
Lighting Design – Katharine Williams
Video Design – Daniel Denton
Sound Design – Chris Drohan
PR – Judy Lipsey
A production by Kali Theatre.

April 11th-29th
London, Arcola Theatre


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