Attending the theatre with my son to review the the stage play of Meera Syal‘s book Anita and Me. He had heard of the film and I was explaining who Meera Syal was, she is also in the Kumar’s has the Grandmother. Blank looks, how old am I. The realisation that talking to teenagers just makes you feel even more ancient. I am having more moments like that lately. We settled down to enjoy the play, the set was striking with its row of terrace houses.
The story is centred around Anita a young Asian girl living with her family in a village near Wolverhampton in the 1970’s. It is a story with many aspects of the girl’s life involving forming friendships, relationships with family, making sense of the world as they progress through teenage hood. I enjoyed the adaption, it encapsulated the era with all kids playing outside and testing and forging their friendship in a changing world. The subject of racism runs alongside the story whilst addressing other social issues such as broken families changes to schools and political issues.
The language used within the play was a shock to my son, they were to express racist words which were generally used daily by most people. It also highlights the challenges faced by families. In many respects you felt how far we have come, but many issues seem to be at the forefront of problems today.
I also felt that everyone would have known a girl like ‘Anita’ (Laura Aramayo) and how the friendship progressed. Shobna Gulati appeared as Meena’s mother alongside an comedic appearance from the Grandmother.
The music and dancing was good and provided a fun part to the scenes. I felt that it could have gone more over the top with the dancing and singing, but then I am quite partial to people breaking into song.
Good points – Female perspective on growing-up.
Bad points – Difficult to express all social challenges
Performance 8.5 /10