Stage review: Love N Stuff, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Love N Stuff
Theatre Royal Stratford East
IN A NUTSHELL
Strong chemistry between the leads and a witty script lifts the despondency from this poignant departure lounge two-hander, writes Julia Gregory
Set in an airport departure lounge this two-hander is at turns side-splittingly funny and poignant as the challenges of a long-term relationship are explored.
The show by award-winning playwright Tanika Gupta grew out of last year's Bollywood musical, Wah! Wah! Girls, set in Stratford and the audience's reaction to characters Bindi and Mansoor.
That show was part of the World Stages London and the London 2012 Festival.
This time Bindi heads to the airport where so many of the athletes arrived brimful of hope to confront her husband Mansoor who has decided to abandon his London home - and 35 years of marriage - to head back to India.
So far so unfunny, you would think. But the play's humour comes from the characterisation and the versatility and chemistry of the actors Tony Jayawardena and Rina Fatania whose expressive eyes help her deliver a range of emotions.
Between them they take on a cast of 20 characters as Bindi uses every weapon in her arsenal to persuade Mansoor to reconsider.
The lodgers Akbar and Janice, who arrived for the Olympics just across the way from the theatre, and never left, are particularly memorable for their hair-raising and hilarious arrival at the departure lounge.
They even channel the achievements of Usain Bolt as they remember the glory days of London 2012.
Another highlight is the street smart boy Baggy, carried off with aplomb by Fatania.
We get a sense of the ennui of the departure lounge when a plane is delayed and travellers are prey to passing encounters, from the sleazy ne'er-do well who attempts to chat up Bindi to the false cheer of the perfume lady spritzing her wares on unsuspecting travellers.
Directed with a light touch by Kerry Michael this show delivers a mix of wit and humour.
Until Oct 5, Theatre Royal Stratford East, £12.50-£15, (concs £8.50-£10), stratfordeast.com.