Hanif Kureishi’s groundbreaking 1985 film My Beautiful Laundrette Reimagined
Hanif Kureishi’s groundbreaking 1985 film My Beautiful Laundrette will be reimagined live on stage this autumn in a brand new production from the Belgrade Theatre, Curve Leicester, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham and Leeds Playhouse.
Originally directed for the screen by Stephen Frears, My Beautiful Laundrette sets its scene against a backdrop of Thatcherite economics, racial tension and political polarisation in the 1980s. After being confronted by a fascist gang, Omar recognises his old school-friend Johnny amongst their number and uses their shared history to diffuse the situation.
When Omar’s uncle Nasser hands over a failing laundrette to his nephew to manage, Omar brings Johnny on board to help him fix it up. As they work together on the renovations, love blossoms between them. But can their relationship thrive amidst pressure from Omar’s family and Johnny’s friends? True to form, Hanif Kureishi mixes subversive social realism with his distinctive blend of humour, joy and magic in this powerful exploration of cultural conflict, gender equality, class and generational strife.
Brought to the stage by Curve Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, this new adaptation sees Gordon Warnecke, who played the role of Omar in the Oscar-nominated film, return to the story in the role of Omar’s alcoholic father.
Omar Malik (East is East, Nottingham Playhouse; Gangsta Granny, UK tour) leads the cast as Omar, alongside Jonny Fines (An Officer and a Gentleman – The Musical, Curve and UK tour; Grease, Curve) as Johnny, the role which famously launched the career of Daniel Day Lewis.
Completing the cast are Paddy Daly as Genghis and Dick O’Donnell, Kammy Darweish (Approaching Empty, UK tour; East is East, Nottingham Playhouse) as Nasser, Hareet Deol as Salim, Nicole Jebeli as Tania, Balvinder Sopal (Call the Midwife, BBC One; The Deranged Marriage, Rifco Arts) as Bilquis and Moose and Cathy Tyson (Mona Lisa; The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety, Birmingham Rep; Red Snapper, Belgrade Theatre) as Rachel and Cherry.
The show will be directed by Nikolai Foster and designed by Grace Smart, with lighting by Ben Cracknell, sound by Tom Marshall and casting by Kay Magson CDG.
Nikolai Foster said: “We are thrilled to be presenting Hanif Kureshi’s astonishing adaptation of his Oscar-nominated film My Beautiful Laundrette. Hanif surfs a multitude of strikingly relevant issues in his 1985 masterpiece – from the journey of the immigrant, English working class society, women’s roles in the family and the results of Thatcher’s policies. Kureishi does all of this with bucketloads of wit, openness, compassion and a sense of mischief at the absurdity of it all.”
Belgrade Theatre Artistic Director Hamish Glen said: “We’re pleased to be continuing our partnership with Curve after the success of our previous co-productions Wipers and Pink Sari Revolution. My Beautiful Laundrette forms part of our ongoing efforts to reach and retain new audiences, and with the support of our co-producers, we hope to strengthen the relationships we have already begun to develop with the Midlands’ diverse communities, particularly as Coventry moves towards its year as City of Culture in 2021.”