Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Katherine Boo, David Hare

Olivier Theatre,
National Theatre

Upper Ground,
South Bank,
London SE1 9PX

7.30pm; mats 2.30pm, Suns 2pm – see website for mats, Sats, Sun, Tue, Weds

Audio-Described perfs: Fri Jan 2, 7.30pm; Sat Jan 3, 2.30pm with Touch Tour
Captioned perfs: Sun Jan 4, 2pm; Tues Jan 14, 7.30pm

NT Live: Thurs Mar 12, 7pm

Runs: 2hrs 45mins incl 20 min interval. To April 13, 2015

TICKETS 020 7452 3000
In person: Mon– Sat, 9.30am-8pm

Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Nov 22, 2014:

The power to prick our conscience.
There’s something deeply disturbing about sitting in a comfortable western theatre bearing witness to the dire poverty lived elsewhere in the world. That, of course, is the power of theatre and it’s a testament to Rufus Norris’ blazing production, the assiduity of journalist Katherine Boo’s dedication in the slums of Mumbai and David Hare’s smooth adaptation that it has such a conscience pricking effect.

Boo, a staff writer with the New Yorker, won the PEN/Galbraith Award for her book based on three years spent with the community living under the flight-path of Mumbai’s International Airport during the 2008 global recession.

Now, in its stage manifestation, Behind the Beautiful Forevers swirls with life, death and everything in between. In its colour and vivacity, Norris’s production pays homage to those who daily attempt to eke out a precarious livelihood in one of the world’s fastest growing economies whilst the airlines zoom in, bringing tourists to marvel at India’s cultural wonders.

Beneath them is another story which Behind the Beautiful Forevers brings into stark relief with simple reminders. As western banks fail, so in Mumbai, the price of plastic bottles falls from twenty-five to ten rupees a kilo. For Sunil and Abdul, two Annawadi `pickers’ for whom picking up plastic bags is a major source of income, it spells disaster. But dealing in metal, a higher valued commodity risks death. There is a hierarchy and retribution, if you cross the line, is swift and brutal.

But in essence, Behind the beautiful Forevers is the story of a neighbourhood and pulsating as such with all the personalities it produces. Unusually, too, it is largely a women’s and mothers’ story – their desperation, their often cruel ingenuity to survive in it. And the price their daughters pay.

If the production’s life-enhancing intention sometimes leads to too close juxtaposition of the tragic with the comic in the midst of deprivation, official corruption, self-immolation and movingly, Abdul’s desire to lead a better life – an aspiration, which as he puts it is impossible in his world – it still remains a shocking, heart-breaking, extraordinary production led by Meera Syal, that should be required viewing. Wonderful.

Sunil Sharma: Hiran Abeysekera
Deepak Rai, aka Kalu: Assad Zaman
Manju Waghekar, Asha’s daughter: Anjana Vasan
Asha Waghekar: Stephanie Street
Abdul Husain: Shane Zaza
Raja Kamble: Ranjit Krishnamma
Mahadeo Waghekar, Asha’s husband: Sartaj Garewal
Rahul Waghekar: Gavi Singh Chera
Zehrunisa Husain, Abdul’s mother: Meera Syal
Kehkashan Husain, Zehrunisa’s daughter: Anjli Mohindra
Karam Husain, Zehrunisa’s husband: Vincent Ebrahim
Airport Director: Sartaj Garewal
Sub-Inspector Shankar Yeram, aka Fishlips: Chook Sibtain
Nagare:Muzz Khan
Fatima Shaikh: Thusitha Jayasundera
Mirchi Husain, Abdul’s brother: Ronak Patani#
Meena Chinnu: Anneika Rose
Cynthia Ali, a neighbour: Manjeet Mann
Officer Kulkarni: Mariam Haque
Noori Shaikh, Fatima’s daughter: Tia-Lana Chinapyel/Nikita Mehta/Tia Palamathanan/Ashani Stevens
Poomima Paikrao, Special Executive Officer: Nathalie Armin
Abdul Shaikh, Fatima’s husband: Ranjit Krishnamma
Guard at Dongri: Esh Alladi
The Master: Pal AronTaufeeq:
Taufeeq: Muzz Khan
Laxmi Chinnu, Meera’s mother: Bharti Patel
Judge PM Chauhan: Thusitha Jayasundera
Prosecutor: Chook Sibtain
Defender: Esh Alladi
Clerk of the Court: Mariam Haque
Judge CK Dhiran: Pal Aron

All other parts played by members of the Company

Esh Alladi (Mahadeo Waghekar/Airport Director/Abdul Shaikh/Kalu/Judge Dhiran);
Gavi Singh Chera (Clerk of the Court),
Sartaj Garewal (Raja Kamble/Karam Husain/The Master),
Mariam Haque (Meena Chinnu/Kenashan Husain/Manju Waghekar);
Muzz Khan (Kulkarni/Fish Lips/Defender/Prosecutor);
Manjeet Mann (Asha Waghekar/Laximi Chinnu);
Ronak Patani (Sunil Sharma/Abdul Husain/Nagare)
Bharti Patel (Poomima Paikrao/Cynthia Ali/Judge Chauhan/Fatima Shaikh/Zehrunisa Husain);
Assad Zaman (Rahul Waghekar/Mirchi Husain/Taufeeq/Guard)

Director: Rufus Norris
Designer: Katrina Lindsay
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
Sound Designer: Paul Arditti
Video Designer: Jack Henry James
Fight Director: Kate Waters
Company Voice Work: Jeannette Nelson; Daniele Lydon
Dialect Coach: Zabarjad Salam
Staff Director: Emily Lim

Casting: Wendy Spon
Assistants to the Designer: Loukia Minetou, Aaron Marsden
Research Assistant, Mumbai: unnati Tripathi

World premiere of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Olivier Theatre, London, Nov 18, 2014

2014-11-27 10:17:13

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