In the play Of all the Beautiful Things in Life, we are taken on a journey with a Somali family as they navigate life after the loss of their father and prepare for their sister’s wedding.
Written and directed by Yusra Warsama, the play is a testament to her imagination and observation of the world.
The stage is set up to resemble a traditional Somali household, complete with plastic covering the sofa, a wooden table with glass parts, and dividers that part the room.
The attention to detail is impressive and reminds one of a familiar and welcoming space.
The small cast of five actors all deliver noteworthy performances. Cora Kirk, who plays the middle child Aalyah, is particularly impressive in conveying the struggles of a child seeking attention and recognition from her mother.
Sara Abanur, who plays the eldest daughter Mariam, is tasked with the responsibility of getting married and keeping her siblings in line.
Marcia Mantack delivers a raw and emotional performance as the mother, Mama/Ugdoon.
Her love for her daughters is palpable, but her actions reveal a disconnect that leaves one feeling a sense of unease whenever she enters the stage.
Xsara-Shaneille, who plays the youngest daughter Suhela, brings a carefree spirit to the play that is both refreshing and heart-wrenching. Finally, Flo Wilson, who plays the nanny Mrs. F.A, is the voice of reason that keeps the family grounded.
Her comedic one-liners provide some much-needed relief from the heavy emotions that permeate the play.
The composer, Tom Leah aka Werkha, is a one-man band in the corner of the stage, playing the keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and soundboard. His presence on stage adds to the overall atmosphere of the play, and his music serves as a reminder of the emotional journey we are all on.
Of all the Beautiful Things in the World is a hard-hitting play that tackles themes of loss, grief, and the complexities of family dynamics. The laughs that punctuate the play are a welcome distraction from the sadness that pervades it, but ultimately, the play is an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you feeling both drained and fulfilled. It is a must-see for anyone who appreciates powerful and thought-provoking theatre.
The play is on until April 6th.