Unlike its title, Middle East tale is devoid of Passion

Review by Paul Nelson

When a play has a title that draws your attention almost immediately, it would be well if it actually were clear to the audience that the title is what the play is about.

With Passion, at Chelsea Theatre, the play could just as easily have been titled Apathy or Insouciance because one is not entirely clear which passion the play refers to, Bill's adoration of Hanna, or Hanna's zealousness regarding the Hamas, because the play, wait for it in these troubled times, is about Palestine, appallingly named the Holy Land, where there seems to be nothing but trouble and strife.

In fact Bill's unchurched trouble and strife is the main cause of what drama there is in this play, and the fact that they both display a certain indolence when it comes to their relationship makes the evening more than a trifle dull.

Thankfully, it is a mere 70 minutes long, and grinding though these are, there is reason to rejoice. It could have been longer.

It's a brave move for the writer to tackle a situation that was irresolute when it was created, and naturally, in its present fluid state the Middle East situation is daily going to overwhelm any thoughts on the position of the two nations, Palestinian and Israeli.

That in my mind he fails, is hardly due to his observations on the political set up, which are bound to court irrelevance as events unfold, but in his lack of forcing the situation between Bill and Anna to a point where they matter to the audience.

Not a satisfying evening out, but then you can always eat after the show, which is over in a seeming trice.

Passion by Tony Craze. Directed by Malcolm Sutherland, Design by Lisa Lillywhite, Lighting by Philip Gladwell, Sound Design by Marco Centore. WITH Karina Fernandez (Hanna), Andrew Hall (Bill). Presented by The Chelsea Theatre, Worlds End Square, New Kings Road, SW10.