Ayub Khan Din’s Oliver award-winning Popular British Comedy East is East has made it`s triumphant return to the Octagon under the amazing direction of Ben Occhipinti.
I was truly honoured to be in the audience for press night at The Octagon for this as it is a personal favourite of mine.
It is an uphill battle for George Khan, proud Pakistani and chip shop owner, to get his seven children to conform to traditional Pakistani values. Meenah prefers playing footie to wearing a sari, Saleem pretends to be studying engineering when he’s really at art school, Tariq has got a reputation as a local Casanova, and Sajid hasn’t even been circumcised yet!
Kulvinder Ghir`s performance as George, the patriarch of the family who`s fear of losing his cultural identity was portrayed expertly and really had me believing in the character. Kulvinder manages to cut through George`s bluster and up frontness to the angry frightened man who is lashing out at his family because he cannot control his world nor his family.
Jane Hazelgrove`s portrayal of selfless Mum Ella really ties the production together in this case. She interacts perfectly with the “children” , has perfect stage awareness and in my reckoning , did not miss a cue once throughout the whole performance. Her comic timing was spot on throughout the production , with some cracking one liners which are balanced deftly with the seriousness of trying to work out just where in the multi layered culture clash herself , and the rest of the family fit in.
The younger cast Jatinder Chera (Saleem) Akshay Gulati (Tariq), Jatinder Chera (Saleem), Mitesh Soni (Abdul) and Uzair Bhatti (Menner) , Shila Iqbal (meenah) and Rohan Macleod (Sajit) did brilliantly throughout the production especially with their well timed and acted bickering.
The set was very cleverly put together by Amanda Stoodley with a 1970s styled set and the family Chippy that is wheeled on and off. The Octagon has a history of using the space it has with clever and visually appealing sets and this production is no exception.
Final Score: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A MUST SEE
East is East is running at The Octagon Theatre , Bolton until Saturday 14th April
To book tickets or for more information click HERE
Review by Wendy Ann