ADAM   *****



Traverse theatre, V15   Various times

August 5th to 27th  ( not 7,14,21)

This play tells the heart-rending and engrossing story of Adam Kashmiry, growing up as a girl in Alexandria, Egypt, but knowing that the real Adam lay within, where he was a boy trapped in a girl’s body. We see family conflict, the vulnerability of the girl on the street in male guise, the horror of living where civil liberties do not exist such that reporting  an assault or rape to the police is liable to result in more abuse.

Adam makes it to Britain, but that is not the end of the problems. Long desperate days still lie ahead. Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry share the telling of the story, and there are moments when one being the other’s alter ego helped make the shared experience bearable for the audience at the same time as doubling the intensity. Both give superbly assured performances which connect brilliantly with the audience.

Included are the voices of the Adam World Choir, collected from around the world – the voices of more than 150 trans men from Nigeria to Russia, from Pakistan to Norway, many of whom are seen on screen. Also seen, very movingly, is Myriam Acharki as Adam’s mother, speaking with him online after his transition. This brought tears to the previously chuckling man next to me.

This show fully deserved its standing ovation. It provided vivid insights into both growing up female in a repressive society and of the fierce battles that trans people very often have to fight. Then there are the catch-2 2 situations that faced Adam as an asylum seeker. Writer Frances Poet and director Cora Bissett deserve great congratulations for putting on stage this wonderful if tough story, one which expands our understanding of what it is to be human.

Tony Challis