See East is East back on the theatre stage
British comedy East is East has stopped off in Bucks this week as part of its UK tour. CAMILLA GOODMAN reviews the show
IFIRST discovered East is East more than a decade ago when my family rented the 1999 film on VHS from our local Blockbusters. I fell in love with the film and watched it many times over the years, so when I heard it was coming to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre I was very excited!
I was intrigued to see how this beloved film of mine would be adapted to the stage, but then I discovered that East is East actually started its life as a stage play and not as a film – and that was very clear watching the show.
This show was very clearly made for the stage and, to my own surprise, I much preferred the play to the film.
East is East tells the story of Pakistani chip shop owner George Khan – ‘Genghis’ to his kids – who is determined to give his children a strict Muslim upbringing in 1970s Salford.
Household tension reaches breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella, gets caught in the crossfire with her loyalties divided between her marriage and the free will of her children.
The show is packed with laugh-outloud moments mainly provided by the Khan kids and Ella’s best friend Annie.
However, there are also some very sobering moments during conflict scenes with George and Ella and George and his kids.
Despite Ayub Khan Din’s East is East first being performed almost 20 years ago in 1996, the show still works just as well today. I believe every audience member can identify with family squabbles and unfortunately the racism, which sadly is still not a thing of the past.
One thing I loved about the stage version is how intimate it is and how as an audience member you really start to feel like part of the Khan family. The audience was also made to feel uncomfortable during the conflict scenes.
The acting in the show was absolutely top class from each and every cast member, including Pauline McLynn (Father Ted and EastEnders) who plays George’s suffering wife Ella.
While the set was quite simple with minimum scene changes required, it worked really well and helped the audience focus on the actors’ outstanding performances.
The lighting and the occasional music also really complimented the show.
Overall, East is East is a splendid production that will leave you with a smile on your face as well as giving you some food for thought. Catch it in Bucks while you still can!
Parental guidance recommended due to strong language throughout.
For more East is East UK tour dates visit www.atgtickets.com/ East-is-East.
East is East