Pros: A great concoction of everything that makes a good story; fantastic acting, clever design and a tale that has both social and entertainment value.
Cons: I would have liked to have seen more of a connection between the actors. I didn’t believe they loved each other as much as I’d have liked them to.
Tamasha Theatre Company is on a mission to tell stories of the world: how it is formed of strands of people, creeds, beliefs and colours that jumble and mingle together. Tamasha take their plays of the world and their bold statements on the road. Blood by Emteaz Hussain is at its third location of the tour: The Soho Theatre. This venue seems to be a pretty perfect match: with it’s eclectic programme, and slap-bang city centre home, it is right in the thrum of multi-culture.
Blood is billed as ‘a 21st Century urban love story’, which is true but it’s not a simple as that. Blood gives us so much more besides. It’s also been referred to as a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but that’s a bit of a cop out too (not everything written since the 1590s that involves love can be described as a version of the star-crossed lovers). Blood isn’t merely the well-trodden story of teenage lovers that have to battle for their love against the will of their families. It’s far more about how their love can stand up against their religious and cultural boundaries, and all that entails in a modern world. Emteaz Hussain’s writing is unpretentiously poetic: full of slang and humour, it is what makes our protagonists Caneze (Krupa Pattani) and Sully (Adam Samuel-Bal) real.
Blood is set in a Midlands Pakistani community. This is a backdrop that neatly encapsulates the physical place of the global within national neighbourhoods. Even from a geographic perspective, the teenagers are faced with a dichotomy : the existing struggles of being a teenager in the first world, set against their loyalty to an ancient heritage. Pattani plays a strong-willed character, intelligent in her struggle to find the right way to exert herself. She is emotional but unwaveringly strong. Every imaginable hurdle is put in front of her as she tries simply to love a boy. Samuel-Bal plays that boy earnestly, but with a massively endearing goofiness. His character is bundled off to Pakistan, because he loved someone he wasn’t allowed to, without ever knowing why. The thing he misses most when he gets there, aside from Caneze, is Nandos.
The staging and Sara Perks’ design is smart, subtle and versatile. It is part back wall, part shelving unit that folds out into restaurant tables, beds, windows, or any given location in any given corner of the world. It is completely unassuming and yet utterly useful. There seems to be an unending amount of secret compartments, opening floor boards, and storage spaces that set scenes almost unnoticeably.
Blood is a story that entertains its audience on so many levels. It is heart-warming in its depiction of love and the fight to maintain it. Blood is informative too: it shows us the multitude of cultures that coexist to make up society.
Author: Emteaz Hussain
Director: Esther Richardson
Producer: Tamasha and Belgrade Theatre
Booking Until: 27/06/2015
Box Office: 020 7478 0100
Booking Link: http://sohotheatre.com/whats-on/blood/