“The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them. The country possesses in the Royal Academy an institution of wealth and power for the purpose of encouraging the arts of painting and sculpture...” These were the words of Winston Churchill during World War II regarding theatre and arts. Theatre is one of the most under-appreciated forms of arts that thrive on the hard work and drive of passionate individuals. Performing arts is rigorous, challenging and demanding as it leaves little or no room for error, which is why this talent remains unparalleled.
When it comes to theatre in Pakistan, we harbour some precious gems in the field. The Urdu musical ‘Twins Apart’ is one such example. It is inspired from Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’ that made its debut in Liverpool before it was transferred to West End for a short run in 1983. The adaptation is a story of fraternal twins Moosa (originally essayed by Faraz Ali, but now played by Muslim Abbas) and Essa (essayed by TV actor Umer Naru) who were separated at birth. Essa is adopted by a wealthy family while Moosa continues to live his own poverty-stricken one. Growing up in different circumstances, the brothers cross paths as children and immediately develop a strong bond of friendship. Alas, fate has different plans for the twins as they are parted yet again. The two-hour long musical then progresses onto a tale of love, loss and regrets as the plot thickens and the characters are faced with challenges and other complications.
The play is directed by Shah Sharabeel and produced by Stage Nomad. The remaining cast includes Rehan Nazim as the narrator, Ifrah Khalid as Safiya and Faiza Mahmood as Maryam, Kanwal as Noori and Abdul Ghani as Raju (who is also one of the choreographers along with Shezi). Twins Apart may be a little slow at first, but it picks up the pace as the story evolves. It is a thoroughly riveting play with an exceptional performance from the cast, brilliant musical scores and interesting sequences. Another crucial element that pulled everything together was the apt lighting and the narration. All in all, the musical offers the audience a mix of comedy, drama and entertainment, which will keep you hooked right until the end.
The musical is currently running at the Karachi Arts Council since it premiered on February 12 and will run till March 17. After completing its Karachi run, ‘Twins Apart’ will head to Islamabad (March 28 - April 14) and Lahore (April 18 till May 5), respectively.
–– Adeela Akmal