STAGE REVIEW: An Indian Abroad @ Northern Stage, Newcastle (20.07.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: An Indian Abroad, GemArts Masala Festival by Anna Miller

This final weekend of the GemArts Masala Festival proved a fitting end to a spectacular week of performances, representing the finest South Asian arts and culture. On Sunday afternoon, I marvelled at – and took part in – the fabulous Mini Mela at Live Theatre, where the vibe was dynamic, the acts breathtaking and Elvis’s Bingo Balls was something else!

For a brief time that afternoon, I stepped into another culture, welcomed with open arms. For An Indian Abroad, it had been a different story. On Saturday night at Northern Stage, writer, performer and professional wrestling manager(!) Pariah Khan led us on his surprising journey around the UK as Krishnan, a sensitive, inquisitive young man visiting the exotic island of Great Britain – first stop, Bradford. His innocent approach to all that he encountered was related with quirky humour. He was seeing the UK with fresh eyes and a heart filled with wonder and optimism – what could possibly go wrong?

With the aid of four chairs, a table, a personalised calendar and a suitcase full of souvenirs, Pariah Khan captivated the audience with his tales of love and hate, misfortune and everyday life as an Indian guy in the UK. The perceptive asides and shrewd comebacks were perfectly timed. His wicked ability to randomly break into song and then let it drift off (maybe you had to be there) lightened the mood every time.

This one man show reached a climax with a vivid face-to-face confrontation with an EDL supporter…and then ended abruptly before I was ready. It certainly left me hanging, if that was the intent. Maybe that’s where it has to end, because this narrative is far from over – that conversation is only just beginning.

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