Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Meet the Mukherjees - What's Being Said....

[An] intelligent comedy that raises plenty of issues to keep you thinking while keeping you laughing. BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE.

We've had some reviews in for Meet the Mukherjees. You can read the full review from the British Theatre Guide here, The Bolton News review here and also what Manchester Evening News has to say here. Clitheroe Advertiser have also reviewed the show. Here's what they have to say:

Mark Babych’s production of Tanika Gupta’s new play, Meet the Mukherjees, at the Octagon, Bolton, is a must-see gem. She has managed to take a fraught subject like racism and make it hilariously funny without ever letting us lose sight of the underlying seriousness.

Thirty-year-old Hindu, Anita, (Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi) is a successful solicitor, sharing a flat with friend Fran (Keeley Forsyth) but her widowed mother Chitra (Pooja Ghai) is desperate to see her married. Then Afro-Caribbean Aaron, (Mark Springer) falls head over heels for her. She is suspicious as he has a reputation as a commitment-phobic philanderer. The course of their complicated relationship forms one strand of the plot.

However, everything is made much much worse by the prejudices of their relatives, Chitra, and her bigoted brother-in-law, Raj, (Nicholas Khan) and Aaron’s parents Leticia (Anni Domingo) and Neville (Wyllie Longmore) plus India (Ayesha Gwilt) Aaron’s teenage daughter by an English woman. Only the spirit of Anita’s father Montu (Nicholas Khan) seems to want the couple to be happy. The elders throw every kind of insult in the way.

How can this be funny, one might ask? But it is. Gupta mocks the shallow prejudices. She gives a clever twist to the elements of farce, with a particularly funny take on the man in the wardrobe. Her dialogue is witty and her characters are lively and, each in their own way, sympathetic, apart from the revolting Uncle Raj. Pooja Ghai is endearing, struggling to cope with loss and modern morals. Anni Domingo has a range of comically outraged facial expressions as she tries to control her wayward but ultimately compassionate husband, Neville. Wyllie Longmore veteran of so many excellent North West productions revels in the opportunities for comedy as the roguish father, fond of a drink but the most understanding of them all.

The Octagon should be justly proud of their ground-breaking 40th Anniversary season that continues to attract such a diverse audience.

UPDATE: And a lovely review here from UK Theatre Net. 'It's a real treat to have the first chance to to catch this excellent comedy, definitely one of the best new plays I have seen in the north-west'. And The Stage have also been very complimentary here 'A remarkable comedy making serious points about the moral relativism that divides and unites the races, it may well become a classic'.

You can also read more about the author, Tanika, here and here's an interview with Pooja who plays Chitra in the production. See her in the centre of the image above.


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