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A CurtainUp London Review
Four men meet in a red-lit bar, gathered round the pool table, on the anniversary of the death of their friend ‘T’. Billy (Jaz Deol) has come up from London. He is sadly ostracised by his family because of his previous relationship with a white girl, whom he is no longer with. Shaf (Muzz Khan) is a bragging, taxi driver and father of four with another baby on the way. Kamy (Asif Khan) is hapless, naive, rather awkward socially and works in his father’s shop. The final man to arrive is suited electrical goods retailer Mo (Peter Singh). As they down pints and Jack Daniels and shots of tequila, the drink fuelled conversation exposes their dreams and tragedies and arguments develop. The snooker game is funny because all except Mo are not expert players and the cast has to react to the unpredictable outcomes of a determinedly, single minded snooker ball. They sink the cue ball with depressing regularity.
The language is graphic with lots of laughts. Kamy tells us that, “A tiger never changes his spots” and complains about “loads of crazy aunties coming in and out (of the shop) all the time”, so we can picture this community. But as they discuss how and why ‘T’ died, secrets are revealed and they face up to unpalatable truths. As Shaf’s shares his ambition to found a chain of fast food chicken restaurants the others question how he will fund this venture without resorting to crime. They also talk about their families, about their children and their dreams.
Iqbal Khandirects this piece that slowly burns into an interestingly different play about a dramatically neglected group of Muslim men without a Jihadist mission. Time lapse filming of the snooker game fills the gaps. I especially liked the performances of Jaz Deol as sympathetic, returning Londoner Billy and Asif Khan as out of his depth, geeky Kamy. Ciaran Bagnall’s realistic set is backed by a bar and Michael Luxton hovers in the background as barman Dave to keep the drinks coming.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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