Khandan, Royal Court, review: 'Shrewdly observed tragicomedy'
Monday 16 June 2014
A decade ago, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's play Behzti, which depicts rape in a Sikh temple, sparked such violent protests that it was withdrawn on the grounds of public safety.
There's nothing inflammatory, though, about her latest piece, Khandan, which has now transferred from Birmingham Rep's Studio in a beautifully acted and focused production by Roxana Silbert.
The play is a shrewdly observed tragicomedy about the tensions between two generations of a family that came here from the Punjab in the late 1960s.
The widowed matriarch Jeeto (a domineering yet subtly sensitive Sudha Bhuchar) dreams of retiring to her native land but her plans are jeopardised by her ambitious son Pal (Rez Kempton) who has inherited his father's taste for Johnny Walker as well as the family shop and wants to sell up and cash in on the thriving new market in care homes for elderly Asians.
That such a boom exists is itself telling of the shift away from family values towards blinkered individualism that the play explores.
Lauren Crace is very touching as Pal's white wife – desperate for a baby and, in her eagerness to be accepted, more Indian than the Indians.
The plotting does not quite steer clear of cliché but the play has a humane breadth of sympathy and a powerfully ambivalent attitude towards the liabilities of legacy and the sustaining strength of clans.
To June 28; 020 7565 5000
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins
Sherlock series 4: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have to be 'persuaded' to return, says Steven Moffat
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
A victory for gender equality on the high seas
Oldest footage of London landmarks released
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election