Monday, May 14

Rafta Rafta Click for more info

Currently playing at the National Theatre on the Southbank, Rafta Rafta tells the story of a just married couple who have chosen to move in with the groom's family in their family home in Bolton.

We witness the usual fun and games typically associated the whole "living with the in-laws" thing and at first, things seem to go relatively smoothly for all concerned. But then a particular bedroom issue begins to cause problems for the couple, their respective parents and then, rather inevitably, the wider community.

Rafta Rafta is pretty much as you would expect it to be. Leveraging the Indian context in which it's based (it was originally based around a white family) the jokes and funnies really could have come straight from GGM and the like. This isn't a bad thing and on the whole they treat the cultural issue with respect and even the most sensitive would find it difficult to become offended by some of the gags.

Acting was alright with some solid performances from all, in particular Harish Patel, Shaheen Khan and Meera Syal (and that despite her constantly flipping accent). The production itellf was adequate too; there was a single (albeit well done) set of the cross sectioned Bolton home, but a clever use of light and semi-transparent screen made this more flexible than it would have been otherwise.

As I've mentioned already, the script and direction were funny rather than deep - the same could have been said for the plot as a whole, so don't expect to be challenged too much by this play. There's a certain shallow feel to how certain issues were treated, which is a shame; as if it wasn't possible for a mainly Asian audience to consume anything more difficult. Still, this made the play very accessible to all, even those without an inside knowledge of the culture.

Easy going and fun, I don't think Rafta Rafta was a bad night out at all. I did leave feeling slightly underwhelmed, and can only wonder what it could have been if pushed a bit more. As it stands, however, it can only manage to be a strong curiosity rather than a must-see.

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