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  • David Robinson

The Buddha of Suburbia

SC Stratford upon Avon until 1st June

****  “a brilliant cast serve a captivating story.”

We are treated to almost three hours deep in the heart of the late 1970’s, as seen through the everchanging landscape of South London in that heady decade, and through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Karim and his immigrant family. It is colourful and at times a bawdy journey bursting to life with infectious oxygen with a typical Emma Rice delivery. She directs and co-adapts the piece with the novel’s author Hanif Kureishi. Together they dig deep and long to find some delightful humour dovetailing poignantly with the harsh realities faced by Karim and his rather dysfunctional family.

The tracks on the record player together with the dance moves to match as well as the vibrant and wide fitting costumes all aids us in our transportation to the teenage years of Karim.

Dee Ahluwalia is hugely watchable as Karim, a warm storyteller, observer, and a generous and charismatic sharer of his unfolding coming of age tale. We partake willingly in his quest for happiness, for stability and realness and indeed for desires both personal and professional.

His passion for the theatre and acting allows us to drop in on some hilarious moments in a rehearsal studio as Karim and co. prepare a piece gloriously steered by an overbearing director Matthew Pyke, nicely and carefully crafted by Ewan Wardrop.

Rachana Jadhav’s set is a multi-tiered and hugely functional and effective, and again is a 70’s kaleidoscope of colour. It all adds to the busyness and pace, which for the most part is a delight, just occasionally there is just a bit too much going on with a need it seems to keep adding another visual moment. We stopped and breathed, even in the heady 70’s.

You are not in any way sold short, and a brilliant cast serves a captivating and warming production.

David Robinson

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