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, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…