A bit late on this one, for several good reasons:
Nicolas Hytner directs Rafta Rafta, Ayub Khan-Din's (East is East) adaptation of Bill Naughton's 1963 play 'All in Good Time' on an impressive set (design by Tim Hatley) faithfully recreating a northern terraced house. We meet the Dutt family; Mr Dutt’s son Atul has just married Vina, and the couple come to live in Atul’s small bedroom, next door to his parent’s and brother’s rooms. Due to unfortunate (and comical) circumstances, and then the resulting pressure to perform, he can’t consummate the marriage, and the relationship between the young would-be-lovers at first seems to fall apart, but with some close familial scrutiny, eventually blossoms. Mr Dutt, played brilliantly by Bollywood star Harish Patel, was the star of the show for me. His need to be the centre of attention, like an overgrown peacock, and passive-aggressive criticism of his son cause problems for Atul and Mrs Dutt, and anyone who has observed competitive male behaviour can sympathise with the son. Saying that, Mr Dutt is actually a relatively loveable character; you would like to go to a party with him rather than have him as a relative. Patel gave a bravura performance, all singing all dancing and crucially very real. Meera Syal plays Mrs Dutt with aplomb, putting up with her exasperating husband admirably, and pluckily defending her son. Overall the play is a delight, a light confection, wonderfully acted and deftly directed. It also is true to what it is trying to be, which is a play where a British Asian family are shown in a sympathetic light, just like any other decent (but quirky) family, and with some original northern charm and humour too.