Beautifully set staged and vigorously directed by Iqbal Khan, its screenplay sings with a comedy that has no date. And it is a reminder of how much, or little, has changed since 1971, and whether a family like the Khans would be better accepted today in the place where they live.
George (Tony Jayawardena) of Pakistani origin has been married for 25 years to his white English wife, Ella (Sophie Stanton), but still hopes to raise his six children Pakistani style, which means intrigue involving scene circumcision and arranged marriage. He's both a clown and a tyrant and domestic violence, when it does occur, looks stark and central here - a good shade darker than in the winning film of the Bafta .
Her identity crisis is just as acute as that of her children. "This country doesn 't love our people," he said. As they strive to be accepted by the world, George speaks of turning his children into good Pakistanis with a zeal that portends great anxiety underneath, anxiety that is magnified by the news of the war. between East Pakistan and Pakistan occidental, looming in the background and threatening to dock it.
Each of the actors gives a piercing performance and their characters bring out different aspects of the culture shock of history without becoming representative spokespersons. Tariq (Gurjeet Singh) and Abdul, (Assad Zaman) discuss the rejection of the white community to their to something… "says Abdul wistfully, after mocking his co-workers) while Noah Manzoor is adorable as the youngest son, Sajit, locked himself in his playpen in a coat, showing obsessive-compulsive tics and quietly traumatized by his family's dysfunctions. The other children are less fleshed out, from Saleem (Adonis Jenieco), the art student, to Maneer (Joeravar Sangha), the nun, and Meenah (Amy-Leigh Hickman), the only stubborn girl in the family, but they bring comedy, and Saleem 's "vagina" sculpture - a key prop - has lost nothing ofe its shock effect.
There is also humor in the tea meetings between Ella and Aunt Annie (Rachel Lumberg), the neighbor and assistant funeral directors whose morbid comedy brings some of the best lines.
Despite the sharp edges of its central subject, the production is animated with a sunny energy. Susan Kulkarni's costumes capture 1970s fashion with their wacky palette of canary yellow, green and orange. Sound (designed by Jon Nicholls with a composition by Felix Dubs) combines with video and lighting (designed by Bretta Gerecke) for a fabulously heady effect.
Overhanging screens resembling large Polaroid snapshots show a moving photo album. Classic Indian songs are mixed with bhangra and house in an exhilarating score between stages, and the lighting is dynamic and vivid. All (also designed by Gerecke) is also a protean marvel, with a corner that transforms in seconds from a coal shed to the family chip shop, while a staircase climbs to the front of the stage with striking lighting. to instantly reconfigure the decor.
Khans radiate great warmth but without any sentimentality or schmaltz. It all blows up a spectacle that feels surprisingly, happily, fresh, a quarter of a century later. articlebody>