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Mustafa (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Kali Theatre Company is back in town.

Following last year’s fun outing Ghandhi and Coconuts, Kali, founded in 1990 and dedicated to championing women writers from a South Asian background, brings a spine-tingler in Naylah Ahmed’s Mustafa.

Mustafa (a studied portrayal by Munir Khairdin) is something of an enigma. Is his self-effacing demeanour who he really is or did he brutally murder a teenage boy?

But as he and the boy were alone in the room while the family remained outside, how else could the horrific injuries have been inflicted?

His claims that he was performing the exorcism of a djinn and there is ample evidence that the evil spirit is now abroad - prisoners hit themselves, guards attack him, lights fuse and no one can be trusted to be who they seem.

Mustafa can read into a person’s body, identifying illness, upset and secrets. Holy man, magician or possessed?

Ryan Early puts in a convincing performance as young warder, battered husband and Mummy’s boy Dan taunting and taunted by turns while old school prison officer Len (nicely played by Paul McCleary) is determined that there are no bad people only bad decisions, and that rules are paramount.

Versatile Gary Pillai (last with Kali as Ghandhi) is solicitor and brother Shabir, despairing of his unassuming brother, struggling to believe the unbelievable.

Switching from interesting dilemma through whodunnit to the downright spooky, this is an entertaining evening out.

Janet Steel directs tightly and the excellent set by Colin Falconer moves the action between cell, yard and ‘goldfish bowl’ seamlessly.

Lighting designer Tim Mitchell and Stage Illusionist Richard Pinner combine to get those goosebumps rising for a fast 90 minutes.


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