The production has one saving grace, which is the beautiful blend of percussion, trumpet and cello music composed by Byron Wallen and performed by a band who surround Paseda (Jenny Adejayan, Louai Alhenawi, Nao Masuda and Byron Wallen).
Karlina Grace-Paseda has a hard task to bring all the elements together and sadly bows under the pressure. She is clearly a consummate dancer, moving with grace and poise, but she stumbles over words and shouts most of her lines.
Sarai is the barren wife of Abram who, yearning for a child of her own, is forced instead to leave her home and let her husband take other, younger wives. God promises her that if she obeys him she will not only bear a child, but be the mother of a great nation. The set (Victoria Johnstone) a constructed tent like canopy made up of baby clothes, is a somewhat obvious, uninspiring nod to Sarai’s nomadic lifestyle and childlessness whilst her frequent costume changes are totally unnecessary.
The original biblical story is one of the triumph of fortitude and faith in the face of soul-crushing adversity. In this production Sarai is presented as a much stronger character than her husband but sadly the potential for an empowering feminist re-telling is lost because the script is boring, the flow of images turgid and forgettable. Stories of dead children, jealous women and long-harsh journeys are totally uninteresting because Paseda struggles to give the words enough of the nuanced pace required.
The production has one saving grace, which is the beautiful blend of percussion, trumpet and cello music composed by Byron Wallen and performed by a band who surround Paseda (Jenny Adejayan, Louai Alhenawi, Nao Masuda and Byron Wallen). A mix of haunting melodies and mesmerising crescendos with African and Arabian overtones the music is by turns joyful and heart breaking and so entertaining that the words and actions of Sarai often feel like an annoying distraction.