Duo to return to Stratford for Love N Stuff
When the curtain opens on the first scene of Love N Stuff at Theatre Royal Stratford East, you may well get swept up in a sense of deja vu.
For the two characters gathered at Heathrow Airport's Terminal Three - married Stratford couple Bindi and Mansoor - have become somewhat iconic in east London following their stint on the same stage last year.
In 2012, actors Tony Jayawardena and Rina Fatania captured the hearts of the East End with their humorous relationship in Wah Wah Girls and this month, the duo will return to their roles in Love N Stuff.
Talking of his fifth production with his co-star, Tony, who plays Mansoor, said: "We have always enjoyed working together and being on stage. We kind of click in a weird way - it's nice.
"Knowing each other does help. Generally with acting jobs you come in and meet a bunch of strangers and it's difficult sometimes to put yourself out there.
"It's never tricky between Rina and I. We know we will be there for each other if anything goes wrong. We will just go with it and respond - we enjoy the excitement of that.
"With Love N Stuff, we are playing a whole bunch of characters and it's a tough schedule.
"But we are still going to try with the characters of Bindi and Mansoor. We are going to make the space feel as spontaneous and real as possible."
Artistic director Kerry Michael and playwright Tanika Gupta paved the way for the reunion.
Tony said: "This is one hell of a compliment and Rina and I are very lucky to have this opportunity. It's a wonderful validation of the work we are doing."
The acting duo will be taking on a hefty 20 roles between them during the production, which centres on the former's fight to prevent her husband leaving their England home for Delhi after 35 years of marriage.
They will adopt personas including duty free assistants and policewomen without ever leaving the stage.
It will be a tricky task, admitted Tony, "but an exciting one as well."
And the re-worked stage setting of a studio format will increase the levels of intensity for a Stratford crowd who the 34-year-old said was "amazing" during Wah Wah Girls.
"At one point, I am playing a duty free woman and you're not going to forget that," joked the Londoner.
"My costume doesn't change but my accent certainly does.
"And it's always good fun in a small space. When the audience is closer you can afford to be more intimate.
"You don't have to bellow everything and it gives actors a bit more space for subtle emotion - it makes those comments feel even greater."
■ Love N Stuff, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Sept 13 to Oct 5, £12.50 to £15 (concs), Tues to Sat at 8pm,