Citizen Reviews of Harlesden High Street

When Harlesden was first staged in the December of 2010 in the Hindu Metroplus Festival held in Bangalore, Hindu opened its review process to include the audience and only the audience.  Here are some of the citizen reviews from Hindu

“Harlesden High Street is one of those plays you would think about long after watching it. The powerful script, written by Abhishek Majumdar, was the hallmark of the play. The setting may have been foreign or unfamiliar but the individual stories of the three protagonists—Rehaan, Karim and Ammi — reminded the audience of the little joys and sorrows of daily life we often take for granted.

It was evident that director Neel Chaudhuri thought deeply over how to create conflict in the play.Karim’s soliloquy was beautifully directed. The juxtaposition of the dully-dressed Karim with several members of the chorus dressed in deep reds and loud yellows brilliantly portrayed the ‘coloured complex’ most immigrants feel.

The cast put in a stellar performance. Arundhati Nag as Ammi, was flawless. Momo Ghosh played the role of Karim well.”

SAHANA NAG

““Home is where people make faces at themselves in the windows of buses.” In a search of individual definitions of home, three Pakistani immigrants struggle to find a balance between nostalgia and the creation of a new identity in England.

Karim’s poetry contrasts with Rehaan’s sense of practicality in verbal duels. Karim’s intensely emotional, almost blind mother, Ammi, portrayed magnificently by Arundhathi Nag, lives blissfully in the past, constantly recreating her sense of home in a strange land.

Abhishek Majumdar bravely tackles unexplored angles of the oft-explored territory of identity crises. Alternately powerful, amusing and symbolic, Harlesden High Street challenges stereotypical immigrants’ angst.”

DIA B.

‘“Harselden High street” is a play that captures the immigrant experience in a different manner. Unlike numerous other plays and movies on the topic, which mull over the cultural stereotypes that the west views people from the subcontinent, this play makes an attempt to stay clear of such commodification. It deals with the angst that first and second generation immigrants face in a foreign land, each having their own separate set of issues to deal with. The props were simple and the acting was excellent. Special mention must be made of Arundhati Nag, who in her portrayal as an elderly first generation immigrant manages to criss-cross the gulf and switches accents effortlessly, adding a great deal of authenticity.”

ASHOK GANGULY

“Harlesden High Street” deals with immigrant identities and was a refreshing change from every other play that deals with the same theme.

It dealt with home and questioned the concept that most take for granted.

The play is cleverly written with a humour that has wit and substance, and performance by Arundhati Nag was convincing and strong. Performances by Momo and Swetanshu Bora as Kareem and Rihaan, move you and you feel for them, children of first generation immigrants, frustrated with a dead end job, hawking their odd items ranging from fruit to nail-cutters to tissue paper. What strikes you the most is the story of the play. It is clever with some very good lines and keen attention to detail.

Abhishek Majumdar writes a play that is entertaining and Neel Chaudhuri does a competent job bringing the script to stage.

SELVI DORAISWAMI

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