Production photos: The Seagull, #LyricHammersmith
Review: The oddly entertaining Saint George and the Dragon, National Theatre

Review: My Name is Rachel Corrie, Young Vic Theatre

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Erin Doherty in My Name is Rachel Corrie. Photo Ellie Kurttz

Rachel Corrie (Erin Doherty) is someone who cares. OK, so a lot of people care but they don't care to the extent of Rachel, to the extent where she actually does something and does something remarkable and life-threatening.

Based on Rachel's writings and performed with tireless energy, wit and compassion by Erin Doherty we meet Rachel when she is a child growing up in Olympia, Washington. She'd probably be described as a sensitive, slightly odd, slightly eccentric child - precocious even - she thinks a lot, is ambitious but in her passions and pursuits rather for a career. When her class is asked to write down what they'd like to do when they grow up, she writes a long list.

Through her teens her personality and passions blossom, she is admirable, quirky in an amusing, endearing and sometime irritating way. She volunteers, she talks to people, listens to people, her compassion grows until all the work she does isn't enough so she gets on a plane and heads to Israel. Once there she crosses into Gaza where she joins up with the International Solidarity Movement, a group of activists trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli soldiers. 

She wants to help the ordinary people, those struggling to live on day to day basis and she puts herself in danger in order to do so. She wants to help the innocent people caught up in the politics and devastation of war. Her humanity is met with humanity, the people she is trying to help, help her, take her into their homes and feed her when they have so little. It is a story that gives you faith in the human race while simultaneously making you despair at the injustice of the world.

But in the end even this isn't enough for Rachel, the weight of the problems start feeling insurmountable. It hurts her deeply not to be able to make more of a difference and it leads her to do something bigger, to stand in the way of a bull-dozer. 

Regardless of the setting and the political background this is a universal story of those caught up in situations not of their own making and of those trying to help them. It is a fascinating and powerful portrait that will both amuse, make you feel grateful there are people like Rachel Corrie in the world but also ashamed that there aren't more like her. You will also wonder what the world would be like if there were. It's 90 minutes long without an interval and I'm giving it five stars. Catch it at the Young Vic until 26 October.

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