The hugely popular, BAFTA-winning film, East is East, has been brought back to life in a brilliantly hilarious production at the Octagon Bolton.
The story follows the Khan family, made up of seven mixed-race children born to an English mother, Ella (Jane Hazelgrove) and a Pakistani father, George (Kulvinder Ghir) living in 1970s Salford. The audience follows the ups and downs of family life and focuses on the Khan children pushing their father’s boundaries and trying to find their own identity which becomes more difficult when East meets West. A love-hate relationship is formed between the audience and ‘man of the house’ George, who tries to enforce his Pakistani heritage and Muslim values upon his increasingly westernised children.
Ella is often found to be the mediator between her much-loved children and George, however testing at times. Jane Hazelgrove’s ability to convey the role is outstanding; the love she shows towards her children which is marked by her personal scarifies is utterly believable and moving.
The play deals with some sensitive subjects such as domestic abuse, culture clashes and overbearing parents but is balanced with well-timed dry northern humour, which has everyone in hysterics. The intimate nature of the Octagon compliments the production hugely and enables the audience to reflect the characters’ emotions and to feel as though they are an extended member of the family.
Despite being set nearly 50 years ago, many of the themes are still relevant today. Arguably, the issue of young people struggling to find their place and identity within society is even more relevant now.
East is East is available to watch at the Octagon until April 14th.