What's On

Octopus

Unfortunately, Dilek Rose has been taken ill; due to this, the role of Scheherazade will be played by Serin Ibrahim, who will be on book for the performance. If you have any questions, please call us on 020 3039 3333.

“You’re an octopus. All mixed up, like me. One leg something, and one leg something else.”

Octopus is a satire about what it means to be British, written by Afsaneh Gray. As far as Sarah, Sara and Scheherazade are concerned, they have nothing in common. And yet they’ve all been called in for an interview to determine how British they are; a new requirement for those who are considered to have ‘non-indigenous heritage’. Sara looks kind of Asian. Scheherazade looks kind of Middle Eastern. And Sarah is kind of white and has no idea why she’s here. She also keeps bursting into song. By the end of the play, it becomes clear that these three women are all what Scheherazade thinks of as ‘octopuses’ — mixed race and mixed up with it. And maybe that’s true of Britishness, too.

Octopus is set in a post-Brexit dystopia of bureaucratic box ticking and absurd interviews that feels disturbingly close to present day reality. It explores internal borders, what it’s like to be seen as a foreigner in your own land, and — with a musical motif running throughout the show — the power of punk.

This is Afsaneh Gray’s (Royal Court Studio Group, Soho Young Writers’ Group, Orange Tree Writers’ Collective) first full-length play, and it draws on her own experiences as a mixed-up half-Iranian/half-Jew. With ‘mixed race’ now the fastest growing ethnic minority in the country, and staged against the backdrop of Brexit, concerns about immigration and the refugee crisis, the questions it asks feel particularly relevant.

After a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe (Assembly Box), Octopus had a sell-out transfer to London’s prestigious Theatre503.

Praise for Octopus

“Raises the hairs on the back of your neck laugh-out funny.”  The Times

“Sharp, direct and unapologetic…” Theatre503

“Both remarkably timely and refreshingly raw.” Exeunt

“Afsaneh Gray takes risks by playing with cultural stereotypes but always with a fine sensitivity to the humanity of the characters who are completely believable.” British Theatre Guide

“… not to be missed. Funny, powerful and incisive, Octopus is both an enjoyable play and a stark warning of days yet to come.” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub