Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese-American writer, and is the third best-selling poet of all time. He died in 1931.
Broken Wings is his autobiography, and it starts in New York, where the old Gibran (an excellent Nadim Naaman) remembers his past, and his love for Selma (Nikita Johal).
Khalil meets Selma when, being only 18 years old (Rob Houchen plays perfectly the young Gibran), he goes back from America to Beirut to find his roots and discover himself. Unfortunately, Selma is destined to marry the nephew of the Bishop and she will find herself married to a cheating man who does not care about her.
Broken Wings is a story about love, about losing the people we love and about finding ourselves. So it is very easy for anybody in the audience to relate to the emotional narration.
The central message – the issues of traditions, arranged marriages and female dignity – is clearly delivered.
Everything works well in this musical: Nick Farman’s lighting, Nik Corral’s costumes, but the cast and the music make this musical a special one.
Joe Davison, the Musical Director and his orchestra of nine, give the right intensity to such a powerful story using different musical styles and different instruments.
The music is dramatically beautiful. Songs like “I know now”, a duet between Selma and Kahlil or “Spirit of the earth” – my favourite song, performed by Mother (Soophia Forough) are meaningful and evocative.
Finally, I think it is remarkable that a free programme is given with every ticket. Wish more theatres would do so.
Even if Broken Wings is running for a short time, I am sure it will have a longer life in the West End, because this is what it deserves.
Broken Wings is at the Royal Haymarket until 4 August
Photo: Marc Brenner