Is there anything worse than being invisible, asks Nikhil Parmar’s returning one-man show.
Zayan is a British Indian RADA graduate with no acting job, no money and no life prospects. His girlfriend has left him for a more successful, ‘BBC and HBO co-production’ star and rival. But with no ability to look after himself – let alone their daughter – can we really blame her?
The play follows film fanatic Zayan as he tries and fails to become the protagonist of his own life story. It is a stark untangling of the realities of working as a non-white actor. Zayan auditions for doctor roles rather than the leads, has to work in catering or dealing drugs to make ends meet, and questions whether it is better to be angry, difficult and noticed rather than just blend into the background. Big themes are at play, but they are stitched together chaotically, and ultimately, ‘Invisible’ feels like it mostly exists as a fairly blatant vehicle for Parmar’s acting range. His array of accents and characters are impressive but it’s somewhat deranged as a piece of actual storytelling.
The final twist – which make us question everything we’ve seen previously – comes a little too late. There’s the beginning of a brilliant show here, with worthwhile things to say about race and the entertainment industry. But Parmar’s overbearing performance ultimately works against his show, clouding all sense of coherent narrative.