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

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON 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

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