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Jericho’s Rose review at Hope Theatre, London – ‘a winning performance’

Stories of cultural displacement feel worryingly relevant nowadays, and Lilac Yosiphon’s continent-spanning epic of identity is no different. The story of Jasmine, a theatremaker whose UK visa is almost up, and her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and lives in Tel Aviv, it is a piece of theatre which is infused with cultural anxiety.

Using live guitar music and loop-pedalled sound, Yosiphon and her co-directors (Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster and Mike Cole) weave a claustrophobic atmosphere which deftly captures the looping mundanity and sadness of caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s.

Alongside this narrative strand is Jasmine’s jolting, disordered journey through cities all over the world as she attempts to find some version of home. Yosiphon gives a winning performance, flitting from character to character with ease, and her writing has a winding, delicate beauty to it.

It’s a shame, then, that she is obscured by Deakin-Foster’s cluttered, jarring movement direction which pushes both Yosiphon’s writing and performance into a more unsubtle and uninteresting place, as does Sam Elwin’s music, which signposts certain tonal shifts and emotions too overtly.

Will Monks’ beautiful projection, however, goes some way to rectify this, with shifting lights projected onto the gauzy hangings at the back of the stage giving the audience a sense of unending flux.

As much as Yosiphon’s twisting writing has its charms, Jericho’s Rose does run out of steam: the repetitions of certain phrases and images begins to exhaust and it begins to feel somewhat baggy. All in all though, it’s an admirable attempt at a simultaneously expansive and intimate epic.

Verdict
Lilac Yosiphon's play is winningly performed but obscured by unnecessary bagginess

Production

Production
Jericho's Rose
Venue
Hope Theatre
City
London
Starts
October 16, 2018
Ends
November 3, 3018
Press night
October 18, 2018
Authors
Lilac Yosiphon
Director
Lilac Yosiphon, Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster, Mike Cole
Lighting
Will Monks
Sound
Sam Elwin
Cast includes
Lilac Yosiphon
Producer
Althea Theatre
Running time
1hr 20mins