Rather than looking at the Israel-Palestine conflict in a general way, Crossing Jerusalem focuses on two families to examine the daily fears and dangers of living in such a volatile situation.
The language and dialogue the characters use can sometimes feel overly dramatic, but that isn’t to say it is unrealistic. Trudy Weiss’ Varda is a drama queen of a Jewish matriarch who projects her loud voice and her strong opinions towards whoever happens to be in the firing line. Her daughter Liora (Louisa Clein) is more laid-back and flirty, while her son Gideon (David Ricardo-Pearce) is rather hot-headed and passionate, like his mother.
Alistair Toovey is quite captivating as the pouty, brooding Sharif, younger brother of the peace-loving Yusuf (Waleed Elgadi). Their brotherly bond, despite their contrasting political opinions, is convincing and poignant.
The play does trundle on for too long, and, although the benches and table set is demonstrably versatile, there is sometimes a little too much fussing around the set transformation. But at its heart, the story is powerful and the presentation is simple yet striking. As per usual at the Park Theatre, the play’s content may not be to everyone’s tastes, but the calibre of the acting is uniformly excellent. Special mention should go to Adi Lerer’s leading lady turn as Yael and Andy Lucas’ amiable restaurateur Sammy.