Chatback Theatre has announced the cast of the coming-of-age show If This is Normal, which is heading on a UK tour this April. Critically acclaimed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019 and VAULT Festival in 2020, the show is set in the no-man’s land between childhood and adulthood, complicated by unfiltered access to technology and pop-feminism. The audience will follow a trio of teenagers coming of age whilst exploring the power of weaponised language when applied to human emotion.
The full cast returns from the previous Edinburgh Fringe Festival and VAULT festival runs with Aoife Smyth as Alex (On Railton Road, Brixton Base; If I Can Get This Part Right At Least, Nottingham Playhouse), Isambard Rawbone as Madani (Midnight Hustle, Rogue Productions/ VAULT Festival, Hamlet and Sense and Sensibility, Aquila Theatre/ US Tour) and Zarima McDermott as Maryam (Beast on the Moon, Finborough Theatre, which earned her a “Best Lead Female Performance” nomination at the Off West End Awards 2019; It’s a London Life for Me, Greenwich Theatre; The Seagull, National Theatre, Dublin).
In If This Is Normal the characters make the transition from the relative ease of childhood to the complications of adulthood, their personalities and desires no longer quite as aligned over the course of a ten-year friendship. Written by Lucy Danser (Lost in Thought, Edinburgh Fringe Festival /Theatre503 and Rachael’s Café, UK Tour) and directed by Helena Jackson (Resident Director of the repertory company Theater KR/MG and Offie-finalist La Traviata, King’s Head Theatre) the tour will visit The Wardrobe Theatre, Old Fire Station, Mill Studio and 53Two.
Growing up in Kilburn, siblings Madani and Maryam plus schoolmate Alex hit it off from the moment they meet. 10 years later, playful chats about ninja turtles and bobble pens have been kicked out by teen opinions powered by podcasts, porn and politics. Still, best friends can talk about anything. So why are there suddenly so many unspoken thoughts between the three?
Writer Lucy Danser comments, After the pandemic forced us to stop the show more than two years ago it’s wonderful to be able to return with If This is Normal. It’s this type of small-scale, fringe theatre that I really missed. The opportunity to have an entertaining, moving and intimate experience with a group of strangers, live and in person! It is however somewhat sad that the themes in the play are even more relevant two years on. I’m excited to share the play and start some important conversations.
Director Helena Jackson commented: “I´m thrilled to have the time and space to be able to further develop If This Is Normal creatively, and especially excited to share Maryam, Alex and Madani with audiences all around England. Directing Lucy´s writing has always been a complete and utter joy!”
Chatback Theatre is committed to delivering accessible performances for audiences. At 53Two as part of the venue’s outreach programme, there will be a BSL signed performance and a post-show Q&A/workshop.
13th – 14th April The Wardrobe Theatre
The Old Market Assembly, 25 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0DF
21st April Old Fire Station
Arts at the Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AQ
22nd – 23rd April Mill Studio
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford GU1 3UX
26th – 30th April 53Two
Arch 19 Watson St, Manchester M3 4LP
Photographer Credit, Michael Wharley. Photography Designer Credit, Rebecca Pitt Creative