Anita and Me, Theatre Royal, review: Like vintage Coronation Street with musical out-takes from Bend It Like Beckham

This is warmly recommended

Paul Taylor
Thursday 05 November 2015 13:30
Comments
L-R, Ameet Chana (Shyam), Kiren Jogi (Aunty Shaila), Ayesha Dharker (Daljit) and Janice Connolly (Mrs Worrall).
L-R, Ameet Chana (Shyam), Kiren Jogi (Aunty Shaila), Ayesha Dharker (Daljit) and Janice Connolly (Mrs Worrall).

I've always liked and admired the work of Meera Syal but I still wasn't expecting to fall around with mirth at Tanika Gupta's hilarious stage adaptation of her Betty Trask Award-winning 1996 novel. But it's like a vintage episode of Corrie (geographically shifted nearer to dreaded Crossroads) with inspired musical out-takes from Bend It Like Beckham; a coming-of-age play about an intelligently aware Punjabi girl who wears a sun-blocking cardigan over her head in an effort to emulate her blonde best friend who's an enemy in disguise and needs to be shed; and a comedy about an Asian/Brummie kid that has strong affinities with the humour of Caitlin Moran.

Mandeep Dhillon is a delight as young Meena as is Roxana Gilbert's production that finds a lovely balance between the politically pointed look-back-with-edginess dimension and the golden good-humour of the writing. The production burst with life. A revivalist meeting in which a basically racist bag in curlers raises money for the heathen is as ridiculously engaging as the parts involving a sympathetic neighbour sublime Janice) who's into cultural exchange. “Not on top of Malibu” she exclaims when offered whisky by Meena's father, saying that she'll be fishing bits of sick out of the birdbath for ever after. Warmly recommended.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in