Bush Theatre, London W12
Opened 23 November, 2001

*** "Efficient" is the word for this one-man show

Aasif Mandvi's solo show about Asians in New York is quite insightful, quite funny, quite poignant, but not quite exciting

There are solo plays which can cover a vast range of dramatic tones from Samuel Beckett to Conor McPherson and then there are solo shows. These are a slightly different prospect: the single performer usually pays several roles, possibly makes a point of showing us the theatricality of changing between them, and is almost always unable to avoid the impression that the real message of the show is at least as much about their performance skills as about anything in the script.

British-raised, New York-resident Mandvi's show is one of the latter kinds. Is protagonist is an innocent arrived from India to work in a restaurant in NYC, but he also shows us the members of his employer's family, from the wife frustrated that she is no longer allowed to dance to the Americanised, unsuccessfully flirtatious daughter and the son-in-law-to-be whose devout Islamism prevents him performing when he visits a prostitute. It all works well enough (although the shifts between characters have that peculiar kind of American actorly ostentation to them), but it comes across as a deliberate showpiece rather than anything heartfelt.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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