REVIEW: THE JUNGLE (Playhouse Theatre) ★★★★★

This is the place where people suffered and dreamed. Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Jungle – just across the Channel, right on our doorstep.

The thing I love most about theatre is that for a couple of hours it allows you be transported in to another world, where you can leave your troubles at the door and be entertained for a coupe of hours. The Jungle however is a totally different kettle of fish and you are forced to face up to the harsh realities of the political issues going on in the world and just across the water from the UK.

Made up of actors from around the world (Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, England, Zimbabwe, Syria, Armenia, Congo, Wales, Scotland, The Gambia, Morocco, Lebanon and Germany) The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction. It displays the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from many different countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.

The Playhouse Theatre has been totally transformed for this immersive production. The seats in the stalls have been removed and audience members are seated on benches in the ‘Afghan Cafe’ where the action takes place all around them whilst those seated in the dress circle look down on the action from the ‘Cliffs of Dover’. It is truly incredible to see a theatre be transformed in this way and I am not aware of anything like this happening before to make way for a theatre production.

It is testament to the power of the show, seeing people bundle wads of cash in to the charity buckets as they leave the theatre for the Help Refugees charity which delivers international humanitarian aid.

The Jungle is probably the single most important theatrical production in London right now and I urge everyone to go and experience a story that is continuing to happen in real life right now and deserves to be fully understood.

Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Marc Brenner

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