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Interview with Ravi Jain

16th September 2015 | Theatre

Interview with Ravi Jain
Ravi Jain is the director and co-star of 'A Brimful of Asha', a show whereby he shares the stage with his mother to discuss the realities of arrange marriage.

Ravi’s trip to India couldn’t be more perfect. Until his parents begin introducing potential brides.

In this hilarious show from the director of 'Like Mother, Like Daughter', real life mother and son Asha and Ravi Jain share the stage to tell this true story of generational culture clash.

James Gilmore had the opportunity to chat to Ravi Jain about this thoughtful production.

James Gilmore: ‘A Brimful of Asha’, could you tell us a little bit more about it?

Ravi Jain: The show stars me and my real life mother, who is not an actress, and in it we tell the story of how, in 2007 my parents tried to arrange my marriage and it went horribly wrong. I was born in Canada, but my Mum was born in India and she immigrated to Canada – and so the show is really us, through the telling of the true story of what happened, dealing with the generational and cultural challenges of straddling two worlds.

James Gilmore: This is based on real life – what was that process like, turning a really difficult time for you, in real life, into a play?

Ravi Jain: When it actually happened it caused a lot of tension in our family – but we spoke a lot about it so we got over it. I saw a show from England where a guy did a show with his father and I thought it was such a brilliant idea and this story feels fitting, and kind of the perfect content, for the form. We got together and started doing it.

Impossible (Noel Coward Theatre)

10th August 2015 | Theatre

Impossible (Noel Coward Theatre)
Forget pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Forget ill-fitting tuxedos and you can forget ‘Is this your card?’. In Impossible, seven magicians make the top-drawer artform cool again.The show features a wide variety of magic - all using ‘the eight principles of magic’ mentioned at the start.

‘Digital Marvel’ Jamie Allan seems to be offering the most modern kind of magic in the show - so modern, that he’s brought four iPads with him. As well as offering some beautifully visual ‘digital’ magic, his laser act is jaw-droppingly astonishing and was my favourite part of the show.

Ali Cook conjures up some big illusions and a Harry Houdini-style water tank escape. Although I was still entertained by them, Cook seems to be more at home when he is working close-up with a volunteer one-on-one, relayed onto the many screens dotted around the theatre.

The ‘mind-reader who can’t read minds’ (I don’t understand why he’s called that either) Chris Cox, shines as a playful mentalist who even lets one audience member create their own clothing line! It’s hard not to smile whenever Cox is on-stage.

Ben Hart and Luis De Matos both work closely with audience members, often generating the biggest reactions in the show. Hart’s rope routine in act two is a spectacle and his ‘black and white film’ act is a nice idea but doesn’t appear to be fully realised. De Matos’ interactive card trick with the rest of the audience is sure to fool you, it had me scratching my head for long after. Jonathan Goodwin, is most likely to shock you with his stunts (I can’t think of a time when ‘do not try this at home’ has been more important!). Catch ‘Street Magician’ Damien O’Brien in the bar before…

Review: Constellations (Trafalgar Studios One)

22nd July 2015 | Theatre

Review: Constellations (Trafalgar Studios One)
What could a theoretical physicist and a beekeeper possibly have in common? In Nick Payne’s two hander Constellations, your average ‘boy meets girl’ story is blown out of the water.

Payne’s story is set across a multitude of universes with the ‘multi-verse’ theory forming the backbone of the play. The play starts in one universe, where Marianne, a lecturer at Sussex University and Roland, a beekeeper, meet.

Although some of the scientific ideas are described by Marianne, Payne’s research is well incorporated into the overall plot, unlike in Tom Stoppard’s recent play ‘The Hard Problem’. Here, Payne wittily and skilfully uses the science to suggest how life is all about being in the moment and the choices we make throughout.

Some scenes are repeated with alterations, transporting the audience from one universe to another. As we watch Marianne and Roland’s behaviour change across various universes, the play makes us question how another version of ‘ourselves’ may be acting in another universe.

It would be difficult to label the play as ‘a dark comedy’ but it can feel like that at times, with rich humour battling against the physical and mental suffering endured by Marianne. Michael Longhurst’s stripped-back staging ensures that there is nowhere for the actors to hide - allowing the emotions created by the meaningful language to take centre-stage.

Louise Brealey (Sherlock) plays a brainy yet overwrought Marianne, with a need to always listen to a second voice: finding that in online forums, science or Roland. Her heart-warming performance is sprung from an authentic and truthful connection with Payne’s dialogue. Joe Armstrong (Happy Valley) is a down-to-earth Roland, with his passion for bees carving his path in life. Armstrong’s carefully chosen characteristics means that on his first appearance he seems to be the…