By Emteaz Hussain
Directed by Fraser Corfield
Presented by Pilot Theatre in collaboration with the University of York and ATYP (Australian Theatre for Young People)
Liverpool Playhouse Studio
13th October - 17th October 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Prior to the opening scene, before the curtains to the entrance to the venue are closed, a figure bathed in shadow behind a prop slowly moves around, while the other character in the production looks towards the audience while picking up papers from the floor of the stage.

It was written in homage to Albert Camus's L'Etranger -The Stranger - (also called the Outsiders), written in 1942, in which the main character, a French Algerian called Meursault, narrates an account of a series of events which resulted in the apparently random murder of an unnamed Algerian Arab, who is referred to as 'The Arab.' He is accused of the murder and executed.

Emteaz Hussain presents a new version of this novel, inspired by the original text.

This adaptation relates to various incidents, images and narrative from the original text in a somewhat piecemeal way but still appropriate to the Camus novel.

Marie (Lou Broadbent), Mersault's girlfriend, and Sumaya (Sara Sadeghi) are both charismatic on stage, often trading highly emotional tirades against each other, including when the fact is revealed that they had both had sex with the same man.

Despite the complexity of the story - I heard one audience member remarking as he was leaving the venue ' I only began to understand the story halfway through' - they both convey the many layers of the novel with conviction and passion.

As director Fraser Corfield pointed out, when talking about this production, "If you look at the novel and its original significance, then you look at the world that we're living in now and think about someone killing an Arab and the repercussions of that."

There was a Q & A session following the twilight version I saw. Unfortunately I was unable to stay. It would have been rewarding to discover the reasons for Emteaz Hussain writing this new version, and the two actors views on participating in it.

Outsiders goes on tour to various venues in the UK until the end of November.

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