Here are the reviews that I’ve collected so far from online and fb and twitter
Originally from Christopher Owen via ThePublicReviews.com: ” Taking the form of a migrant accountant living (or not as the case may be) his dream in Peckham, Jamie Zubairi takes us through a journey where we learn how empty a life feels in London as a Malaysian man, feeling he does not belong and has no real identity.
We join Dolah as he is pursued by a ghost like presence who delivers him to places of his past, both emotionally and family related – with similarities to a Christmas carol. From the place where his grandma was born to a park around the corner from where he used to work, in which he has never stepped foot, he is shown what should be important and how to find what should matter to himself. Not money or time but emotions and identity, and when it comes to it, an intriguing relationship between himself and a client develops in a way he never expected.
Clever direction by Kath Burlinson and suitably stylised movement and Balinese choreography by Mina Aidoo and Ni Made Pujawati respectively, mean that the show zips along at a delightful pace. Multi character scenes never seem pushed but develop naturally and never leave you confused.
Mixing poetry, dance, painting and (a very sweet and moving use of) puppetry, Jamie Zubari holds the audience in this gripping and often laugh out loud funny play utilising all skills in his skill set. A true display of what a one man play can be and how it can have a deep effect on your thoughts, he performs with accuracy and is grounded throughout this hour of non-stop storytelling. Showing he is not only adept with different vocal techniques or accents but styles of movement and artistry he makes you feel at ease and irons out any awkwardness that can often surface when watching a solo performer in such an intimate stage space. You feel wholly involved in this tale and can relate not only to feelings, but also to time and location. An assured performance by a charming and honest performer, this is a lovely alternative to the usual festive offerings that the London fringe has. With interesting choreography and direction, the hour simply flies by. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and the funding platform WeFund, this is a perfect example of new work being supported in the right way by the public, and the powers that be recognising the potential in an artist that deserves to be seen by a much wider audience
Runs until 15th December”
Originally printed in AYoungerTheatre.com by Daniel Janes: “Dolah, the protagonist of Unbroken Line, is having an identity crisis. A trainee accountant transplanted to Peckham from his native Malaysia, he’s not sure where his allegiances lie: “I have a Malaysian head that tells me one thing and a British heart that tells me another”. However, while Dolah is confused and uncertain, this sure-footed, big-hearted debutemphatically is not.
Unbroken Line is the debut play from Anglo-Malay actor Jamie Zubairi, whose mixed media projects straddle the line between theatre and art; most recently, he was a participant in These Associations, Tino Sehgal’s commission at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in which actors approached spectators with their stories. There, he was one of a swarm of about 300 performers. Here, he has a whole space to himself – the upstairs studio of Kennington’s lovely Ovalhouse Theatre – a space which he delightfully dominates.
In this one-man show, Zubairi draws on his interdisciplinary talents economically but effectively. There are two main characters in addition to Dolah, and both of them gain from the use of mixed media. One is Joe, a successful Northern Irish painter; Dolah visits Joe, a former client, amid the elemental terrain of the Giant’s Causeway in order to work out issues surrounding his stifled creativity and sexuality. Here, Zubairi uses live painting, and a tender scene in which Joe and Dolah paint a canvas together is one of the play’s high points. The other character is Wira, a mythical warrior who acts as Dolah’s spiritual advisor, counselling him on how best to reconcile his European tendencies with his Malay roots. This device allows Zubairi to incorporate Balinese dance, choreographed by Mina Aidoo and Ni Made Pujawati; the dance acts as an anchor both for us and Dolah, ensuring that the spectre of Southeast Asia is never far away.
Unbroken Line has been in development for more than two years; an early form of the piece, Skylarking, was performed at the North Devon Theatre Festival in late 2010. Then, the play was busier and had a more unwieldy cast of characters, but the core tale – the personal crisis of Dolah the accountant – remained the same. Since that time, however, one development has given Zubairi’s creation a sense of urgency. One of the most shocking moments of the 2011 London riots was the assault on Ashraf Rossli (sic), a Malaysian student: he was crouching on the floor after an attack at knifepoint, only to be mugged by two men who appeared to be coming to his aid. Though Zubairi makes only one mention of Rossli, it is a significant moment: he weaves the incident brilliantly into wider themes about the hostility of London’s urban environment. One particular detail provides a crowning stroke: Rossli (sic), too, had been studying accountancy.
Some of the play’s sentiments could easily have become prosaic; Wira’s advice to Dolah includes being himself, finding the beauty in the commonplace and looking out for acts of tenderness around him. However, Zubairi’s honesty, humour and sense of wonder ensure that this never happens.
The Christmas theatre season is traditionally a fallow period, with pantomimes and strained festive cheer pushing out more thoughtful, personal pieces. In this climate, Unbroken Line is a beacon amid the fog. What’s more – with its energy, its essential optimism and even, in one touching instant, puppetry – it proves to be surprisingly festive itself.
Unbroken Line continues at Ovalhouse until 15 December. More information can be found on the Ovalhouse website.” (Zooby’s note: Daniel has since been informed about the misnaming of Ashraf Haziq (the student who was attacked) and Ariff Rosli who is the Malaysian man ‘all over the internet for marrying a man’. This may appear in later edits)
From Rebecca Hussein in WhatsOnStage.com: “There is something very hypnotic about watching Jamie Zubairi paint. After the inexhaustible energy with which he has carried us through the past hour, this moment of calm reflects the resolution of a conflict he has wrestled with ever since moving to London from his native Malaysia. Taking on the character of Dolah, this very personal piece allows Zubairi to explore his very modern identity crisis through a one man show that embraces all forms of art, glorying in its painting, puppetry and dance.
Much of the production relies on Zubairi’s natural charm and, as he warmly shakes audience members’ hands, one would never suspect that we were in fact inside the Oval House Theatre and not the tiny flat in Peckham that he refers to as home. Zubairi’s child like energy is infectious, his love for the art forms he brings together palpable. His physicality as he combines both his cultures are light footed and celebratory and his use of puppets particularly moving.
It would be easy to dismiss his portray of his own lost heritage, a caricature of a wise, exotic spirit, as simplistic and frivolous. And yet, the tone of this production is one of such optimism and glee that one cannot help but be swept up into it. This strange and often comical spirit whisks Dolah away to a place far beyond Malaysia and yet closer to home for him through the presence of a loved one, therefore cementing the idea that we are anchored to people, not places. If it is intensity and provocation you desire, Unbroken Line is not for you and yet this sweet natured production will bowl you over with the charm of its star and his unyielding optimism towards love and home.”