East is East (Tour) – Review

East is EastFollowing its successful 3 month stint on the West End as part of Trafalgar Transformed (a season of politically and socially-charged theatre) East is East, directed by Sam Yates, is now touring the UK, with the Grand Opera House York being it’s 3rd stop of the 8 venue tour.

Ayub Khan Din’s semi-bigographical, critically acclaimed East is East, most famously known for the comedy-drama film adaptation, tells the story of Pakistani chip shop owner “George Khan” and his family. The story demonstrates the struggles and clashes between a multi-cultural family growing up in Salford.

Set in the 70’s, head of the household Mr Khan, performed by Simon Nagra, struggles to control his British wife and their children, under his strict, very traditional Pakistani beliefs. George and Ella’s seven children all have clashing views regarding their culture; to which their stern and sometimes abusive father misinterprets as disrespectful to him and his Muslim religion, believing that he is the laughing stock of his community!

Pauline McLynn famously known and loved as Mrs Doyle in sitcom Father Ted plays Mr Khan’s strong and witty wife, who obviously adores her husband but disagrees with his narrow-mindedness and bullying ways. McLynn and on-stage sister Auntie Annie played by Sally Bankes, make a truly hilarious duo and will have you crying with laughter with their sarcastic comments.

Although the Khan’s have seven children, only six are present in the play, Mr Khan announces that Nadir, their eldest son, is dead to him, after running away just before going through with an arranged marriage; oh the shame this brought to Mr Khan! The other six children (5 sons and 1 daughter) mostly mock their father and his ways, yet are truly terrified in his presence.
Adam Karim as Sajid, the youngest son, hides from the drama of their unusual family under his large parka; Karim does a remarkably good job of maintaining his twitch throughout the play and very impressively is able to put on a very truthful and believeable performance beneath his hood.

Although times have now changed, cultures have not and this play not only beautifully portrays the difficulties of growing up in a multi-cultural family but the hardships of family life in general. There are elements in this play which everyone can relate to, thanks to the dynamic, energetic and passionate performance the cast provides the audience with.

Director Sam Yates is definitely one to watch in the theatre world; his interpretation of the play is mind-stimulating and poignant, yet belly-achingly funny. Definitely a production worth seeing.

*****

Remaining tour dates & venues:

  • THEATRE ROYAL, GLASGOW  10 – 15 AUGUST 
  • ALHAMBRA THEATRE, BRADFORD 31 AUGUST – 5 SEPTEMBER 
  • LYCEUM, SHEFFIELD 7 SEPTEMBER – 12 SEPTEMBER 
  • THEATRE ROYAL, BATH 14 SEPTEMBER – 19 SEPTEMBER 
  • PLAYHOUSE, OXFORD 21 SEPTEMBER – 26 SEPTEMBER 
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