Previewed 4 October 2014, Opened 15 October 2014, Closed 3 January 2015 at the Trafalgar Studio 1 in London
A major revival of Ayub Khan Din's East is East starring Jane Horrocks and Ayub Khan Din and directed by Sam Yates - a modern classic about growing up in multiracial England presented as part of 'Trafalgar Transformed' for a strictly limited season.
Set in 1970s Salford. Pakistani chip-shop owner George Khan - 'Genghis' to his kids - is determined to give his children a strict Muslim upbringing but household tension reach breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella, gets caught in the cross fire with her loyalties divided between her marriage and the free will of her children.
The cast for this production stars Jane Horrocks as 'Ella Khan' and Ayub Khan Din as 'George Khan' with Amit Shah as 'Abdul Khan', Ashley Kumar as 'Tariq Khan', Darren Kuppan as 'Maneer Khan', Nathan Clarke as 'Saleem Khan', Taj Atwal as 'Meenah Khan', Michael Karim as 'Sajit Khan' and Sally Bankes as 'Auntie Annie' along with with Rani Moorthy, Hassani Shapi, Pamela Bennett, Deepal Parmar, Ash Rizi and Karl Seth. Casting subject to change. Directed by Sam Yates with designs by Tom Scutt, lighting by Richard Howell and music and sound by Alex Baranowski. Jane Horrocks's West End theatre credits include Alan Strachan's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular (Garrick Theatre 2007) and Stephen Poliakoff's staging of his own play Sweet Panic (Duke of York's Theatre 2003). Ayub Khan Din's West End credits include Last Dance at Dum Dum (Ambassadors Theatre 1999).
When this production opened Sam Marlowe in the Times noted that "today, in a Britain where Ukip is gaining traction, Ayub Khan Din's 1997 debut play remains sharply relevant. Fierce, funny and affecting, it's also a joy - and it's delivered with infectious verve in Sam Yates's revival for the Trafalgar Transformed season with a cracking cast led by Jane Horrocks and Ayub Khan Din himself." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian explained that "there is something particularly poignant in watching Ayub Khan Din play the overbearing father, George, in his strongly autobiographical play about growing up in a mixed race household which is set in Salford in the early 1970s... It's a beautiful performance in a hugely enjoyable revival: a complex and comic portrait of a man adrift in a changing world, out of touch with his children and attempting to rule his family through fear when all they long to offer in return is love." Jane Shilling in the Daily Telegraph praised how "Tom Scutt's terrific set beautifully evokes the claustrophobic squalor of the Khans' overcrowded Salford terrace and the chippy where the children are expected to work after school. Sally Bankes's high-energy performance as the gossipy Catholic neighbour, Auntie Annie, lights up the stage, and the final scene, a disastrous betrothal tea-party, is a comic gem." Paul Taylor in the Independent highlighted that "Sam Yates's splendid revival now in the Trafalgar Transformed Season is notable for several reasons. It brings Jane Horrocks back to stage in a terrific, gutsy-yet-sensitive portrayal of Ella... This time, too, the author himself plays the tyrannical George Khan." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described how "Jane Horrocks returns to theatre, after five years away, with an intelligent portrait of a Seventies housewife struggling to stand up to six wilful children and a despotic husband... The grimmer scenes of domestic abuse seem contrived, and the production doesn't always feel sharply focused. But any opportunity to see Horrocks onstage is a treat." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail commented how "the play is a time capsule of a more optimistic, sadly deluded time. The playwright acts in this production (as the father), and his presence certainly adds to the interest and authenticity of the enterprise, though not necessarily its dramatic quality."
"Tom Scutt's design, with its loving autumn shades, captures the claustrophobia of family life... Jane Horrocks's warm, worried Ella keeps the peace, but the kids squirm against George's strict regime, swearing, scrapping and scattering curry powder like air freshener to hide the waft of forbidden sausage. The youngest zips himself up inside his stinky parka to hide from the rows, the others fret between identities... Struggles over arranged marriage and non-engineering careers may feel familiar, but the most potent tumult is within George, who feels depths of sorrow and fury he can't restrain." The Sunday Times
"Cultures clash, loyalties are torn and identities questioned in Ayub Khan Din's autobiographical 1996 play about growing up in Salford in the Seventies as the son of a Pakistani chip-shop owner and an English woman. With the news each week of British Muslims becoming radicalised, it's also a stabbing reminder of the power a culture can exert from the other side of the world. Khan Din himself plays the tyrannical patriach, George 'Genghis' Khan, a bulky figure next to Jane Horrocks's tiny but gobby Ella, the wife he knocks about but who stays with him to protect the seven kids she understands better than he does... The war between India and Pakistan obsessing George reflects the growing fissures within the family. But arranging the boys' marriages to unknown Muslim girls is a step too far. 'I'm not going to marry a Paki,' says Tariq. The scene when the girls' parents come to tea, a wonderfully witty nod to Shaw's Pygmalion, is the comic highlight of Sam Yates's revival. A belter, as Ella would say." The Mail on Sunday
East is East in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 4 October 2014, opened on 15 October 2014 and closed on 3 January 2015.