The Scar Test

Summer 2017 

The Scar Test at the Soho Theatre. Photo: Rob O'Kelly.

***** Spy in the Stalls

**** Miro Magazine

**** Entertainment Focus

The production was a moving and harrowing insight into the emotional turmoil faced by female refugees. The performances were extremely emotionally charged and at times distressing but it was a sensitive, hard-hitting production that successfully communicated an urgent and important message that everyone should hear. – Spy in the Stalls 

It’s an Orwellian dystopia in 2017.  But it’s also funny, heart-warming and full of hope. It’s down to earth – watching The Great British Bake Off, talking about the weather and singing “Three Lions”. Hannah Khalil’s script never forgets that these are people. Every moment tinged simultaneously with laughter, sadness and social injustice, a rage that bubbles below the surface….In a show that holds the truth up to the light, there is nowhere to hide. The Scar Test is exposing and eye-opening. But it’s still funny, and that duality marks this out as a great production. – Miro Magazine

 The five actors switch seamlessly from guard to prisoner across a small, bare set given an oppressive gloom by Zoe Spurr’s lighting and designer Amelia Jane Hankin’s multiple fisheye cameras hovering overhead. In fact there are 21 parts, divvied up between the five cast members, including lawyers and volunteers who, while they have the detainees’ best interests at heart, are thwarted in their efforts to help by language barriers and the women’s mistrust of them. It’s testament to the skill of the actors that we are able to follow and differentiate the parts – What’s Onstage

Strong, sensitive performances anchor this earnest portrayal of the conditions faced by migrantsThe Stage

The Scar Test is a striking piece, with deeply unsettling moments that will remain with the audience for a long time afterwards. As a piece of new writing it is well worth experiencing. – British Theatre

The play is well researched, based on interviews with former inmates of Yarl’s Wood, and Khalil has taken pains to emphasise the removal of humanity, choice and opportunity from a huge range of women only there because they need protection. In demonstrating the faceless management of what is essentially a prison, and its constant surveillance, Khalil successfully conveys a message of injustice. – The Reviews Hub

The Scar Test is truly an ensemble piece, and the range and versatility of the all-female cast is astounding….The Scar Test is political theatre at its best, instilling a sense of care and responsibility in its audience.  – Exeunt Magazine 

Lady Unknown

Winter 2015



‘Engaging and fun, giving the audience the chance to step into Dicken’s home for the evening…and presented Coutts who to me was indeed unknown before hearing about the play.’

– Review Extract from Huffington Post

Follow this link for a full review and interview with playwright Lauren Johnson

‘It was very exciting as it was in Dickens’ old house, the scenes could have actually happened there…good fun, an enjoyable evening’

‘The play was clever in how it interwove the historical and social themes with the political…It had a lot of resonance to today.  If you want history that you won’t find elsewhere, follow what’s going on with Untold.’

-Review Extract from London Culture Show

Follow this link to listen to the full review on East London Radio

 The Scar Test

Summer 2015


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‘This is not a play you walk out of and move on from quickly. This is a play that lingers in the recesses of your mind, nagging at you over the course of several days. And that is what it should do.
Telling a patchwork of stories gathered by YW Befrienders and presented on stage in a breathless 50-minute showing, the production places the focus squarely on people; accents and body language take the place of elaborate staging and costumes. The entire cast delivered fantastic, understated performances.
This is a production with a purpose and a message. And one we must listen to. Let’s hope this was not the last chance for local audiences to see it’

-Sarah Cox, Bedfordshire News

Full Review


‘I caught yesterday’s premiere of The Scar Test at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston. Not only touched by the performance and glad for the chance to see such compelling live theatre, I am more informed about the plight of refugees seeking safe haven in the UK and more aware of how poorly too many of these individuals are treated.

Cast includes Claire Chate, Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso, Charity Dooshima Or, Waleed Elgadi, John Gregor, Holly Kavanagh, Debbie Korley, Nadia Nadif, Eileen Nicholas, and Arinder Sadhra … and they all do a stunning job presenting a strong case for at least a bit more compassion toward refugees entering this country (many of them the survivors of torture and rape) and ideally a complete overhaul of the system.’

– Review extract from Chris Osburn, Huffington Post

Full Review

‘The play has a political, social and immediate relevance’

‘Very powerful, very moving but there are a few laughs along the way with some challenging scenes’

‘Really worth seeing by a wider audience’

Review extract from East London Radio

Listen to the review here, starting at 16:27


Spring 2015



Unflinching and extremely hilarious, a new interactive ensemble piece by Untold Theatre explores the relationship between Katherine of Aragon and her Moorish servant Catalina.  Directed by Daniel Goldman, Catalina takes a quick but deep look at traditional and contemporary concepts of race and, at times, strikes dead on a nerve – albeit by tickling rather prodding viewers.  Writer Hassan Abdulrazzak’s dialogue rolls with wisecracks and wisdom and is handled adeptly by the play’s cast of four (Nicholas Waters, Leon Stewart, Nadia Nadif, and Zainab Hasan).

-Review extract from Chris Osburn (

Full review

Catalina’ is thus a period piece with one leg planted firmly in the present. With all the fourth-wall breaking self-awareness that tends to accompany the mise-en-abyme format, it’s full of anachronistic pop culture references, bawdy humour, self-mocking industry jokes and sly satirical jibes aimed squarely at post-modern society. Whereas this cocktail could have come across as smug with a strong whiff of desperation, the execution is commendably slick thanks to the acuity of Abdulrazzak’s script, director Daniel Goldman’s sense of pace and a versatile cast clearly having a whale of a time. Part of the Oval Theatre’s First Bites series, this work-in-progress took a mere five days to polish and rehearse. It’s a testament to ‘Catalina’s sophistication that it is already very much good to go.

-Review extract from Olutola Ositelu (

‘This was a very sparse production in Colchester Art Centre’s small intimate space, that intimacy was reflected in the small company of actors, each actor playing at least two roles. Just as the actors moved effortlessly from one character to another so the stage’s setting moved from one space to another through lighting changes, moving a few props around created marital bed chambers, a church and a tavern, all done convincingly, to great effect. The story was told with humour and dignity through some very effective acting. Untold Theatre have created a fun, innovative and informative production shedding light on a character – Catlina – who we know tantalizingly little about yet might have played a part in acts that fundamentally changed the history of England forever.’

-Review extract from Michael Ohajuru , Historian and author of Black Africans in Renaissance Europe 

Full review

‘There’s more than enough potential high-stakes dramatic tension in that story to fill out a much longer play, albeit one that trespasses into Wolf Hall territory. Catalina is one of history’s forgotten witnesses, but the scarcity of evidence about her is an ideal basis for re-imagining her character and her story in much greater depth… talented cast, with endless potential for comedy.’

-Review extract from John Morrison, Journalist and Theatre Critic 

Full review

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