Friday, 17 October 2014

Review: East Is East at Trafalgar Studios



East Is East
Trafalgar Studios
Reviewed on Thursday 16th October 2014
★★★★

A hugely iconic play about growing up in multiracial England, East Is East is a tremendous piece which perfectly slides into Jamie Lloyd's second Trafalgar Transformed season. Sam Yates directs the production, marking his West End directorial debut, and has done a fine job.

As I took my seat I felt as if I was about to watch a performance of Blood Brothers as the sets are so similar, but I soon lost myself in Ayub Khan Din's play which hasn't been seen in London for seventeen years. 

Set in Salford in the early 1970s, Ayub Khan Din also stars in the production, playing a father who wants the best for his family but is severely lacking in self-control. He wrongly uses his passion as aggression and violence.

Jane Horrocks stars as the mother who would do anything for her children. At first Horrocks opts for easy laughs, but during the second half she steps forward and steals the show with her almighty stage presence.

The stars of this production are the young actors who complete the family. Taj Atwal particularly stands out as Meenah; she had the audience chuckling all evening whilst Ashley Kumar looks so at home on stage in his West End debut, shining throughout.

Although it was first performed in 1996, East Is East remains incredibly relevant. Everyone I speak to - regardless of age or sex - speaks so highly of the piece. As well as having such a variety of characters for the audience to relate to, the play has such depth. East Is East is smooth and fun on the outside, but there are darker layers to be shed. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

East Is East runs at Trafalgar Studios until Saturday 3rd January 2015 ahead of a UK Tour.
Please visit www.trafalgartransformed.com for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit:  Marc Brenner

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