In 'Angel,' Rehana is a young law student who joins the resistance when the town of Kobani is besieged, and quickly discovers that she had a talent for killing. This solo play is inspired by the real-life "Angel of Kobani," a female sniper who held ISIS in check for over a year in war-torn Syria.
'Echoes,' which played at 2016's Brits Off Broadway festival with a different cast, tells the parallel stories of two women born 175 years apart. One is a student Jihadist from England. The other is a Victorian member of the Fishing Fleet, women who traveled to East Asia to wed the men setting up the Empire. Both are idealists: intelligent adventurers, with strong religious beliefs. And both travel to foreign lands with a mission to impose a system of government upon an unwilling people.
"Well presented and wrenchingly played...Rape, torture, savagery which Rehana both sees and experiences provide the substance for one of the most brilliant and harrowing performances this reviewer has ever witnessed. Avital Lvova is magnificent. In fact, this production has exhausted my vocabulary of superlatives. Excellent direction is provided by Emma Butler for 'Echoes,' while Michael Cabot’s altogether outstanding as the director of 'Angel.'" Full Review
“Performers Serena Manteghi and Rachel Smyth leave it all on the stage…Emma Butler directed a breathtaking short play that could only be topped by its immediate follow-up, a one-woman-show called ‘Angel’…This show provides heart-thumping moments mixed with an emotional roller coaster…With the direction from Michael Cabot, Lvova delivers a tour de force that the audience will not soon forget…I can’t think of a more important production to watch.” Full Review
"'Echoes' is an unforgettable theatrical experience...Avital Lvova's solo performance as Angel is stunning. She plays the challenging role with remarkable energy and passion...'Angel' & 'Echoes' are two plays that are well paired to portray the devastating effects of war and tyranny. This meaningful production will open up essential conversations. Metropolitan area audiences should plan to make it part of their spring theater schedule." Full Review
"Both 'Angel' and 'Echoes' are rich, captivating stories about themes in urgent need of attention. Naylor makes it easy to fall in love with Rehana, which makes her expected end a punch in the gut. This is true with Tillie and Samira in 'Echoes' as well. The simplicity of the production is perfect, as the complex characters come to life on stage without distraction. In both plays, the heroines’ voices are distinct, relatable, and unmistakably feminine." Full Review
"Henry Naylor has written two works that are not only complex, but compelling...The performances of the three actresses are superlative. The depth of research which clearly went into the creation of each role is remarkable...Michael Cabot’s direction of 'Angel' and Emma Butler’s direction of 'Echoes' miss neither a beat nor a nuance. Reality is maintained without ever lapsing into melodrama or shock for the sake of shock." Full Review
"The Brits Off Broadway season at 59E59 gets off to a gripping start with 'Angel & Echoes'...The stories in 'Angel & Echoes' are deeply necessary, providing us with powerful and revealing glimpses into the intractable religious and sexual prejudices behind the forces that have transformed these once-pristine landscapes into charnel houses. More than most plays in New York right now, 'Angel & Echoes' demands to be seen." Full Review
"'Angel' and 'Echoes'…find a common ground in dramatizing the effect of the jihadist patriarchy on women…'Angel & Echoes' may not know as much about ISIS as President Trump (who does?) but it knows how to make vital theatre out of nothing more than a space, a well-written story about a provocative subject, and persuasive acting." Full Review
"Drawing on the crises of the Middle East, London playwright Henry Naylor has produced two powerful, insightful plays about women who struggle to defeat the machismo that incites Islamic militants...Rehana is portrayed by Avital Lvova in a bravura solo performance in which she plays numerous roles...The direction by Cabot and Butler transports you, in these important plays, to the terrifying places the women inhabit." Full Review
"'Angel:' On a stage bare of anything save a wooden barrel, Lvova’s solo performance brings Rehana and all of the secondary characters to vivid life under the steady hand of director Michael Cabot...'Echoes:' Both narratives alternate seamlessly to tell parallel stories of their gradual disillusionment and horror, caused by the men and the ideas they had hoped would save them...The nuanced performances of both actresses bridge all the gaps and make us care." Full Review
"The importance of Mr. Naylor’s work is not in his complicated details but in the underbelly of the connection to 'the community of humanity'...Under the direction of Emma Butler and Michael Cabot, the three actors tell these stories with passion and considerable energy...The actors speak so rapidly, some of the important narrative is lost. Their stories, however, remain important and connect on deep levels to the current political struggles in the Middle East—and elsewhere." Full Review
“Presented together on the same bill, ‘Angel & Echoes’ is part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival at 59E59 Theaters (where ‘Echoes’ originally played last year). As written by Naylor, enacted with ferocity and vitality by Avital Lvova, and directed with dispatch by Michael Cabot, ‘Angel’ proves the far more effective (second) half of the evening. That may be because it's told with an in-your-face immediacy and gumption that elude ‘Echoes,’ which juxtaposes the lives of two different women.” Full Review
"'Echoes' remains just as much 'an extreme feminist and far left polemic' as it was in its original incarnation...'Angel' makes this dual entry of 'Angel & Echoes' in this year’s Brits Off Broadway production truly worth seeing...It is an empowering and exhilarating play that focuses on women’s strengths rather than their victimhood and it is Avital Lvova’s performance that makes it especially memorable." Full Review
"Both plays are clear, angry, and unflinching about the plight of women and the roots of radicalization, but there is a deep sense of disquiet bubbling underneath them...It revolves around the problem of who gets to tell whose story...It is critical that artists interrogate their reasons...It seems clear that the almost all-white creative team has not done that essential work. The plays encourage an engaged cosmopolitanism, but flog that important message by profiting from the pain of others." Full Review
"The tales of their adventures become almost surreal, cartoonishly over-the-top to the point where they feel more like Quentin Tarantino characters than flesh-and-blood women...Lvova brings a brightness and a strength that add emotional urgency to the piece...Smyth and Manteghi both give strong performances...Naylor’s writing has a lush, almost glossy texture that ultimately ends up coming far too close to fetishizing the heroines’ different acts of martyrdom." Full Review
for a previous production "Naylor is emerging as one of the great playwrights of our time, not only handling very difficult political and gender issues but doing so with a very lyrical and potent pen...It is a dynamic, action-packed narrative delivered in a powerful performance. Lvova is a wonder to behold. She has an exceptional ability to connect with the audience, a magical outreach which is quite compelling...A vivid, brilliant and important piece of theatre." Full Review
for a previous production "An absolute marvel to watch...Avital Lvova encounters—and superbly performs—a panoply of family, friends and odious foes along the way. It might be easy to get lost in the video game visuals of the action, except that Lvova emotionally brings you back to the visceral story—none of these characters leave this play alive...Naylor has written another exceptional play and tosses the distant war of the Middle East off the television right into our laps, still bleeding. Another Bravo!" Full Review
for a previous production “As compelling, action-packed and epic in its scope as any big-screen blockbuster, ‘Angel’ creates its world and sets pulses racing using nothing more than the power of a brilliantly constructed script and one truly dynamic performance…Balancing drama with humor, creating fully fleshed, powerful female characters and constructing dialogue with an eloquent, witty flow…Requiring an actor of incredible emotional range and physical endurance…Avital Lvova is that actor.” Full Review
for a previous production "Lvova is funny, feisty, quick-witted, scared and determined as she brings Rehana’s plight to stark reality. It’s a physical role which runs a gamut of emotions...Her compelling story shines a light on an area and a war that the western world can quite often forget, and Naylor’s vivid script has plenty of light and dark moments, including some poignant musical scenes. 'Angel' hits the mark and is a breathtaking, unforgettable piece of theatre." Full Review
for a previous production "Lvova is powerful as Rehana in a gruelling and physical role. Lvova stumbles over a few lines, and doesn’t quite nail the climax, but she storms around the stage with captivating intensity while effectively telling the tale and delivering occasional lines of humor...It is a brutal assessment of the lengths sometimes needed to combat evil, where even the most well-intentioned pacifist must abandon their humanity to fight and protect for what’s right. It’s powerful stuff." Full Review
See it if you like powerful stories based on current events performed by three outstanding actresses
Don't see it if you are a musical-comedy aficionado with no interest in world events
See it if Brilliant, tough-minded, raw. Great writing and acting. If you're not a feminist going in, you'll be one coming out. Amazing a man wrote it.
Don't see it if If your machismo needs maintenance or you don't get choked up about social injustice. And I wouldn't recommend this for a date night.
See it if This will leave you in a darker place but it's worth it to see the world through these women's eyes and feel their hearts from their souls
Don't see it if If you want a light night. It will take you to the depths of places you may not want to go
See it if Two plays about women seeking their identity amidst the war and chaos in Syria. Powerful performances, relevant to current events.
Don't see it if You prefer lighter material, or more subtlety. These people are forced into desperate measures.
See it if You like plays that deal with contemporary issues brilliantly acted and writing that is both explicit and poetic
Don't see it if You are disturbed by descriptions of graphic violence
See it if “Angel” play mesmerizes me, with its powerful and tragic story.“Echoes” play was equally powerful and dramatic. It brought us face to face
Don't see it if are not interested in the equal rights of women here and abroad
See it if Liked Cry Havoc-this will make you rave-cry-think-feel anger-think and be grateful you were privileged to see this before its run is over
Don't see it if Heavy heavy drama's, thought provoking virtuoso drama's depress you
See it if You want to see a powerful production about women in the Middle East. You want great acting & superb storytelling.
Don't see it if You don't like plays about stories in the headlines. You want a comedy.
See it if you believe personal stories are political. These three women will touch your heart and expand your world.
Don't see it if if you are afraid of strong women who are willing to die for what they believe is right.
See it if You're a fan of strong writing, layered storytelling, and strong female lead characters.
Don't see it if You see the world in black-and-white, you need happy endings, or you're anti-feminist.
See it if Strong acting, great writing! Kept us enthralled! The second play the acting took your breath away👍
Don't see it if You don't want to enjoy a thought provoking play. You're looking for a musical.
See it if You want to see great acting in a storytelling manner about women experience in the Middle East conflict.
Don't see it if You are not interested in middle east conflict and not into just watching one or 2 actors without much props and just concentrating on them
See it if You enjoy strong female actors in amazing roles telling heartbreaking stories that need to be told.
Don't see it if You need a lot of pomp and circumstance. Minimalist set design and lighting to tell beautiful stories served best by the talent of the cast.
See it if You want to see two relevant and well written plays with terrific acting. Extremely moving and intense.
Don't see it if You are not interested in the plight of women in war torn countries. Heartbreaking to see the struggles.
See it if you have an interest in seeing an historical view of women being treated badly merely because men can do so; highly emotional and gripping
Don't see it if you don't like being subjected to the horrors of women in war, seeing men mistreat and degrade women. You want a light, happy night out.
See it if If you are interested in women's issues of ALL cultures. Well acted. Disturbing subject matter.
Don't see it if If you are prejudice or mysogynistic. But I guess you wouldn't really know or accept if you are. ;)
See it if You like gritty serious drama with great acting.It can leave you stunned. Actress in one-woman show, Angel, gives a stunning performance.
Don't see it if Anything light or "feel good".
See it if Unbelievably good piece - small, intimate, but excellent writing. Compresses the politics of the middle east into human, accessible terms.
Don't see it if You don't like one person shows (It is a two hander first act, solo second act)
See it if you like stories of women coming into their own, or want to better understand what's happening in Syria (to locals & foreign women recruits)
Don't see it if you don't like serious plays. You abhor described violence (nothing is shown, fyi).
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