There is something very hypnotic about watching Jamie Zubairi paint. After the inexhaustible energy with which he has carried us through the past hour, this moment of calm reflects the resolution of a conflict he has wrestled with ever since moving to London from his native Malaysia. Taking on the character of Dolah, this very personal piece allows Zubairi to explore his very modern identity crisis through a one man show that embraces all forms of art, glorying in its painting, puppetry and dance.
Much of the production relies on Zubairi’s natural charm and, as he warmly shakes audience members’ hands, one would never suspect that we were in fact inside the Oval House Theatre and not the tiny flat in Peckham that he refers to as home. Zubairi’s child like energy is infectious, his love for the art forms he brings together palpable. His physicality as he combines both his cultures are light footed and celebratory and his use of puppets particularly moving.
It would be easy to dismiss his portray of his own lost heritage, a caricature of a wise, exotic spirit, as simplistic and frivolous. And yet, the tone of this production is one of such optimism and glee that one cannot help but be swept up into it. This strange and often comical spirit whisks Dolah away to a place far beyond Malaysia and yet closer to home for him through the presence of a loved one, therefore cementing the idea that we are anchored to people, not places. If it is intensity and provocation you desire, Unbroken Line is not for you and yet this sweet natured production will bowl you over with the charm of its star and his unyielding optimism towards love and home.