Theatre review: The Nightmare of Carlos Feuntes at Arcola Theatre
- Credit: Archant
An intensely moving, thought-provoking and gloriously funny tale of one immigrant’s desperate struggle to find his own identity, The Nightmare of Carlos Fuentes takes its audience on a turbulent emotional rollercoaster, ending with crushing devastation as his story unfolds.
Based on an award-winning short story by Arabic writer Hassan Blasim, Rashid Razaq’s black comedy sees Nabil Elouahabi deliver a stunning performance as Salim, an Iraqi refugee who, having fled religious persecution, arrives in London with high hopes for a better future away from his hometown of Baghdad.
Once in London, Salim adopts the identity of “Carlos”, whom we first meet handcuffed to the bed of an English hotel room on a dirty weekend away with his partner Lydia (Caroline Langrishe), a wealthy and significantly older woman.
Perhaps the funniest scene in the play, Lydia’s libido and Carlos’ earnest interest in studying for his British citizenship test are a source of great amusement for the audience, attracting roaring laughter. After a hilarious scene involving his interrogation by an immigration caseworker, the non-linear timespan of the play reveals Salim’s dark history as well as an even bleaker future. Conveying these scenes equally as powerfully as those that are wrought with laughter, Elouahbi is both endearing and captivating in his performance.
What makes this play outstanding is the polarity of such comedy against the stark, damning reality of the past that Salim so desperately tries to escape.
You may also want to watch:
- 1 Clapton: Hunt for metal pole after man badly injured
- 2 Drug dealer jailed for murder of Jay John after Dalston attack
- 3 Nuisance drinkers in Hackney to be fined under new order
- 4 More developers could lodge proposals for Hackney Central site
- 5 Finsbury Park house to be transformed for ‘Halloween experience’
- 6 O's will need a much improved display against leaders Forest Green
- 7 The top FIVE Halloween events in Hackney and Islington
- 8 Calls to boycott Museum of Home until Geffrye statue falls
- 9 New Aldi opens with help from Hackney pupils and Olympian
- 10 Five reasons why Dalston is one of the coolest places in the world