Two teenagers meet at college. In a gloriously gawky, awkwardly unromantic fashion, he asks her out to Nando's. She returns the favour, but quite rightly won't take any of his nonsense. With their affair played out in plain sight of their disapproving families, the star-crossed young lovers carry on regardless. Coming from a tight-knit inner city Pakistani community that's as prone to gangland bullying and brutal misogyny as any insular society, Caneze and Sully must face ever higher stakes in Emteaz Hussain's punchy and street-smart riff on Romeo and Juliet for Tamasha and the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
There are beatings, mad dashes to airports and suspicious reconciliations in Esther Richardson's fast-moving production, played out by just two actors on designer Sara Perks' stacked up shanty town of a set as Caneze and Sully go on the run. As their world closes in on the couple, with all the hormonal mess of conflicting loyalties and being forced to grow up too soon threatening to tear them apart at every turn, Caneze and Sully somehow survive against all odds.
As Caneze and Sully, Krupa Pattani and Adam Samuel-Bal are a youthful whirlwind of highly-charged emotions as they deliver Hussain's urban poetry that marks out all the highs and lows of their relationship. The hi-tech cross-cultural pulse of Arun Ghosh's beat-laden score helps drive the action which retains a lightness of touch throughout. If a darkly funny conclusion feels too much like a feel-good sucker punch, for the young audience who lapped up every second in silence before applauding with a sense of enthusiastic empathy, such a happy ending was everything they desired.
The Herald, June 15th 2015