Adelaide Fringe 2017 Theatre Review: Angel by Henry Naylor

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 12.43.49 amAvital Lvova as Rehana

What: Angel by Henry Naylor

Where: Holden Street Theatres

When: 10th to 12th March, 14th to 19th March

How Much: Full Price $28, Concession $22, BankSA Customer $22, Fringe Member $22, Cheap Tuesday $17

Having already heard that Henry Naylor’s Angel was an outstanding performance, I entered the theatre with high expectations, and I can confidently tell you that Angel exceeded them, tenfold.

The titular Angel is a legendary story, a mythology about a female sniper who killed over 100 ISIS members. Even more than that, it is the journey of a young girl, Rehana, and the loss of her innocence on the way to an adulthood thrust upon her by circumstance, combat, and war.

The stage and walls are black. A large wine barrel sits on the stage. Actress Avital Lvova (Rehana) does the entire show solo – no props, soundtrack, or effects; stage lighting is her only aid.

The simplicity of the barren set, when juxtaposed with Avital’s powerful performance, details a traumatic, harrowing and confronting production. Through this, the audience vicariously lives out the emotive, and raw rendition of the legend of Rehana, as well as the stories of many other women who have suffered at the hand of ISIS forces. Their untold experiences have been compassionately intertwined in the performance.

Constantly changing between the several characters she seamlessly plays, Avital skillfully uses only her voice and body language to construct each individual. In every scene, Avital was capable of instilling a potent atmosphere, ranging from panic, fear, and nostalgia. Even without props, she utilised her body to mime actions such as running and climbing, or to function as objects such as rifles and shackles.

The narrative was carefully constructed, with sequences that effectively foreshadowed future events, or made clever use of the motifs and symbolism woven throughout. Despite this, the narrative’s twists and turns were entirely unpredictable, and I was left gasping in shock several times during the piece. I was continually challenged and reminded of the fortunate life I lead not living in a war-torn country. Being confronted with this story allows us to realise what we take for granted, and the struggles that we will never face. Angel for that hour, made it a reality.

This was an experience I will never forget. Go before it sells out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Rachel Wong

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