Written for Spoonfed, London Theatre:
Shireen Mula’s relatively short play (approx 1hr 10mins), Same Same, begins with a stunningly poetic collection of bold, unforgettable accounts of mixed-race people. In a distinctive move she looks at the experiences of children from their own vantage point. Her two perfectly cast actors, Bharti Patel and Zoe Nicole, run through stories of being born, going to school, making friends, having boyfriends and crucially hiding and sharing all these experiences with the parents they feel disconnected from.
In a dark, cell-like room with their ages running around the walls like ominous, speeding ticker tape, Patel and Nicole play British Asian mother Nid, and her mixed-race daughter Asha. They relate generational differences and difficulties constructing their identities. But in the second half Mula digs deep at the nature of motherhood and it becomes the centre of this play which started off strongly addressing issues of race. An absence of family and issues of abandonment lead us toward a final scene that spells out what was already apparent in a pointless, dull stab at tortured romance.
The play itself is as fractured as its characters, and beautifully so. Mula leaves it to the audience to piece together Asha, Nid and the context of their lives, but Same Same would have a much greater impact if it stuck to its intitial theme especially because it addresses it with such a unique voice.
Image: Zoe Nichol & Bharti Patel as Asha & Nid in Same Same by Shireen Mula photo by Conrad Blakemore