Amar Met Jay - Haymarket Theatre (Studio), Leicester
Amar Singh Johal, born and bred in India. Living here for the last 25
years, some would say he's never left his precious homeland at all. His
views, his ideas and that wafer thin moustache have changed little over
time. His friends often joke that there's a "Made in India"
sign stamped on his backside. But Amar Singh doesn't care - well he didn't,
until he met Jay..."
Alright, so I've read the synopsis provided online and in the press release,
as I see it this is a love story - Amar Singh Johal, meets his beloved
Jay and they fall in love. Sounds quite funny, I think this is going to
be a bit of a laugh. So armed with this picture of what to expect, I proceed
to Leicester's Haymarket Theatre on a grey and dreary Wednesday to catch
the press night of this 'modern romance', at least I might get a glass
of wine at the interval!
The production is a joint venture on this occasion with the Haymarket
Theatre (Leicester) and has been written and directed by Steve Nijjar,
who I later discover also plays the role of Jay - so that's my preconceived
idea of tonight's production out of the window. So as I take my seat on
the bench like seats here in the studio theatre, my eyes are met with
the sparsest of set designs (a settee and park bench, situated back to
back) and I have no idea of what I'm to expect.
Intimate is the 'key-word' here as the tiny auditorium fills to the rafters,
literally with theatre goers keen to catch this 'home-bred' production
and as tonight's entertainment gets underway it is clear that the romance
that is about to unfold is not between our two lead roles. A story that
represents the two sides present within the Indian society, is the hilarious
narrative that unfolds, but one that could just as easily be represented
in any culture. The issue of 'inner racism' is told well here, along with
the gritty reality of arranged marriages and the generation gap.
A play that made a thoroughly entertaining evening, was one that I drew
many comparisons from, however thin, from 'East Is East' to elements of
'Buddha Of Suburbia' and more. The young Steve Nijjar is one talented
performer who conveyed his views well here. His is a career I shall be
extremely interested to watch unfold and work with a greater palate of
subject matter. 'When Amar Met Jay' is to proceed in a swathe across the
country between now and June, visiting Nottingham, London, Manchester
and Leeds in this time and is a performance I cannot recommend highly