REVIEW: EAST IS EAST @ Nottingham Playhouse
East is East, the Olivier Award-winning comedy that went on to become a BAFTA-winning film is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year so what better time for director Suba Das to revive this iconic show for an all new production, playing at the Nottingham Playhouse writes SIXTY9°’s Francesca Arculeo.
Set in 1970s Salford in Manchester, the bright orange back lighting and typical seventies living room immediately set the tone ready for the parka wearing Sanjit to bounce on stage on a space hopper as we are introduced to Auntie Annie and Ella chit chatting over the comfort of a cup of tea.
This is very much a story of about family and home. The Khan household, Pakistani husband George and English wife Ella and their six children, Abdul, Tariq, Maneer, Saleem, Meenah and Sajit and a distant brother Nasir who we don’t get to see . You soon become drawn in to the honest reality of the household as we flip between the revolving set of the living room to the family chip shop and back again. Throughout the show we see Sanjit shadowing the stage, observing the scenes in an echo to his role within the family as the youngest. At the forefront of the story is George’s plan to marry his two sons Abdul and Tariq and how this affects them all.
Vicky Entwistle, best known for her role as Janice Battersby in ITV’s Coronation Street plays the mancunian matriarch exactly how you would imagine with her iconic accent strongly accentuated. Kammy Darweish plays husband George with a strong patriarchal stubbornness as we see him follow the impeding war between East and West Pakistan. The couple clash as their family values vastly differ from one another. It is particularly uncomfortable to watch at times as brutal words lash out loudly before an uncomfortable scene of domestic abuse which leaves the audience aghast.
For me though, it was the young cast that really shone through in this production and brought the comedic relief that was desperately needed at times. They left the audience roaring with laughter with typical sibling banter, teenage rebellion and, despite their contrasting personalities, the love they have for one another.
East is East perfectly plays out the chaotic and sometimes traumatic events of family life with an immensely talented cast who bring together the humour, honesty and heart to the tensest of scenes. 4 Stars.
East is East is on at the Nottingham Playhouse until 10th June. For more information and tickets contact the box office on 0115 941 9419 or at www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk