Review: Santi & Naz, VAULT Festival

The Thelmas’ Santi & Naz presents Partition through a much more personal, intimate lens at the VAULT Festival

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim, or I’m Sikh or our friends are Hindu. We’re all the same inside.”

The recasting of historical narratives through the eyes of those whose stories are rarely heard is one of the most culturally significant things theatre can do, IMHO. So The Thelma’s Santi & Naz is certainly right up my street, as it explores Partition through the eyes of two young women.

They’re fast friends, the bestest of best, but as Santi is Sikh and Naz is Muslim, it’s a relationship that is destined to become more tangled. But where Guleraana Mir and Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s play takes us, is into a more intimate, but no less complicated, version of their world.

Director Madelaine Moore captures much of the heady rush of intense friendship – the dancing, the rule-breaking, the temptations… And Ashna Rabheru’s Naz and Rose-Marie Christian’s Santi match up beautifully in their exuberant energy, even as emotions start to shift on all levels.

Rajiv Pattani’s lighting design suggests the warmth that runs through the openness of Sascha Gilmour’s set design but Sarah Sayeed’s soundscape brings with it a note of real foreboding, the sense that things are happening that they can’t ignore no matter how strong their friendship.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photo: Steve Gregson
Santi & Naz is booking at the VAULT Festival until 2nd February

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