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REVIEW: Penguin at Newcastle Live Theatre,


Live Theatre, Newcastle - 20-23 September 2023

Omnibus Theatre, London - 30 September - 1 October

HOME Manchester - 10-12 October

Leeds Playhouse - 20-21 October 

Sheffield Theatres - 9-10 November

Arts Centre Washington - 30 November

Penguin is a wonderful piece of storytelling. It draws you in and lets you consider what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes. Sometimes it is a tough story, most of the time it is a humorous tale. All of the time, it tell you the diversity of life's many experiences.

Performer and co-creator of Penguin is Hamzeh Al Hussein. He puts each audience member on a quick tour of the places he knows well. As such you are transported from a village in Syria through a camp in Jordan before flying to Gateshead. 

Hamzeh is blessed with being a naturally engaging storyteller. He draws you in as he recalls some of the events in his journey. Though he is the only one on stage, you fell that you know his friends. As such, under direction from Amy Golding, the show flies through its 70 minute run. 

Hamzeh dances around making the most of the Live Theatre stage. All the time he conveys a feeling of the vitality of life.

There are sad moments. His mother, for example is still in the camp in Syria, but, thanks to technology, they are able to stay in touch. She is able to pass on her experience on, for example, how to cook okra.

In yet another Curious Monkey production, we find ourselves able to empathise - yet also to celebrate the cultures that have joined us in order to develop our rich tapestry of community. They give a voice to those not always represented in mainstream theatre.

Hamzeh leads the audience on a rewarding, entertaining and often funny journey. This show deserved the sold out audience that it enjoyed on the evening that we saw it. Fabulous.

Review: Stephen Oliver

Photos: picturesbybish


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