Young Producers Review: Pizza Shop Heroes @ The Huguenot Museum

Credit: Charlie Ensor/Phosphoros Theatre

Last month, one of our Young Producers Jasmine, saw Phosphoros Theatre‘s production; Pizza Shop Heroes.

The show was performed at The Huguenot Museum in Rochester? on Thursday 20th June 2019.

This is Jasmine’s review…

Pizza Shop Heroes was performed by four men who came to the UK as child refugees and a woman who helped to translate their stories. The men described their home lives, their journeys to a new land, their experiences in the UK and their dreams for the future.
Was it engaging??Yes! The story telling elements were interesting and the narrative was constantly changing between the four main actors. Although the play was held in one small room, they changed the space constantly by being dynamic and sometimes still. Their stories were moving and I was never bored or wishing I was somewhere else.

Did the work reflect the world we live in??
Although the things the actors spoke about a world that is foreign to people in the UK, their reality and experiences are relevant because there are still refugees trying to find their way into our country. Much of what they described will apply to child refugees that are living in the UK right now. Their stories need to be told so that people who aren’t refugees can understand what it’s like for them.

Photo from performance of Pizza Shop Heroes. Credit: Charlie Ensor/Phosphoros Theatre
Pizza Shop Heroes. Credit: Charlie Ensor/Phosphoros Theatre

How well was the work executed, produced and presented??
The way the story was told was engaging. There were moments of stillness in which we could reflect, and funny moments where the mood was lifted. The actors used the space well and were confident in themselves. I particularly liked how they dotted small sections of dance in with the story telling to aid with imagery, and the music also added to the atmosphere.

Did the artists challenge themselves and take risks??
I could tell that some of the main actors weren’t naturally actors. But the fact that they had taken on the challenge to perform and turn their story into a play was incredible and also really important. Someone has to do it! So these four men taking on that challenge is fantastic.

Did you enjoy the work??
Definitely! It was comical and everything flowed well. I think it was a quality piece of theatre.

Did it reel you in?
Yes, the stories the men told about their journey to the UK honestly sounded like scenes from an action movie. It was horrifying to hear about the dangers they had to escape and endure. The fact that everything was real made it even more crazy.

Was it thought provoking??
Absolutely! Although I knew that the UK doesn’t treat immigrants well, I wouldn’t have thought that refugees would be put in the same category. Also, the fact that they were all under 16 when these things happened to them is terrible to hear about. Some of them were put in detention centres, like prison, where the guards starved and beat them up. I have never heard a personal account of someone travelling to the UK (in recent times) so it was good to hear it first hand from someone who had experienced it. This way, you know that everything is true and there is no “fake news”. It was heart breaking though.

Conclusion?:
I found the stories of the four young men powerful and almost unbelievable. It made me think about how maybe, if people could just hear what they went through to get away from the conflict in their home countries, they would accept them into our country. I strongly believe that empathy is at the bottom of all understanding. Maybe this is something we can focus on exploring on our day out in Medway (actions of empathy). For me, that’s what the play was about; raising awareness of the horror they went through to get here, at such young ages. And then raising awareness of how they are treated when they get here, still as children.

 

Pizza Shop Heroes is touring the UK until December 2019