Skip to main content

Heer Ranjah (Retold)

Tramway, Glasgow
3 stars
The rise of the Glasgow-based Ankur Productions has thus far marked a significant move forward in terms of depictions of contemporary Asian culture. This new play by Shan Khan attempts reinvents ancient myth for the here and now, as a doomed love story between a Muslim boy on the run from his brother and a glamorous Sikh girl mixes Bollywood with Quentin Tarantino to update this fifteenth century tragedy.

When Ranjah chucks himself in the Clyde, he ends up on a yacht owned by Glasgow’s curry king, where party girl Heer is preparing a night to end them all. The inevitable love affair that follows sees Ranjah the victim of petty racism as well as more brutal treatment at the hands of Heer’s wheeler-dealer uncle that eventually brings down both a business empire and the young lovers stab at cross-class happiness.

Daljinder Singh’s big production takes the bull by the horns, pouring rose petals onto the couple as they embrace, punctuating each scene with boldly choreographed dance routines and wheeling bits of set in and out. It’s impressive stuff, though the script itself isn’t always strong enough to keep up. Beyond the two leads, played vibrantly by Nalini Chetty as Heer and Taqi Nazeer as Ranjha, there are too many bit parts that aren’t fully developed, some of the acting is patchy and the rhythm of the piece occasionally stumbles. While Khan leans towards gangster movie chic to make his point, it’s hard to show sympathy for such an unpleasant lot in a piece ambitious enough to break the mould but not quite sure what to do with it afterwards.

The herald, November 24th 2008

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…