Khan Din’s at least partially autobiographical comedy, which first opened in 1996, brings together a Pakistani Muslim man and a white British Roman Catholic woman, who are raising their seven children in Greater Manchester in the early 70’s. This may sound exhausting, but I promise it’s funny too!

Yes, you guessed it: things don’t all run smoothly for the love birds and their seven kids. After twenty-five years of  marriage, George and Ella Khan still see things differently, with George continuing to send money back “home” to his first wife in Pakistan whilst Ella not only keeps the cramped household going but also works long hours in the family chip shop. I’m sure you can imagine the tension…

George – or “Genghis” to his kids – has been in England for over three decades, but still clings to his old traditions. Their estranged eldest is already dead to him and he’s about to alienate his rebellious offspring even further by arranging marriages for two more of his sons.

The play is intense, but it’s great to have this alleviated by smatterings of humour – It’s fine to laugh at people’s hardships if it’s in a play, right?

Playwright Khan Din is now old enough to take on the role of George himself and, under Sam Yates’ clever direction, reveals the sad perplexity beneath his despotic exterior as the next generation embraces Western ways. He’s awash with confusion; yet this doesn’t excuse his violence towards the tiny, resilient Ella, played by Jane Horrocks’s, who is herself caught between an enduring affection for her bullying husband and protective maternal instincts.

Meenah (their only daughter) – played by Taj Atwal – is sparkily defiant behind her father’s back, providing more drama to really get your teeth into. If you thought your family rows were bad, this could make you think again – a hidden feel-good factor to the play, perhaps?

Michael Karim’s Sajit, the youngest of the children, hides away from conflict by burrowing into the depths of a filthy Parka he refuses to take off. If only that was the answer to all of our problems, eh?


Trafalgar Studios 1

Whitehall, SW1A 2DY

Tube: Charing Cross

Booking till 3rd January 2015   

£15.00- £52.50