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Review of A BRIMFUL OF ASHA at The Tricycle Theatre

A Brimful of AshaA Brimful of Asha is a delightful two-handed play which is written by Ravi Jain who is one of the performers. The other is his mother, Asha.

This is a story which transcends culture, class and the gap of generations to tell the tale of deep and evident love between a mother, son and the rest of his family.

Ravi is a young man newly qualified with a drama degree, out to explore new professional and geographical horizons. He has in his mind a plan of how he would like the coming few years to evolve and with his best friend Andrew, plans a trip to India to sow the seeds of its realisation. Mama and Papa however, have other ideas and are concerned that he may have his priorities wrong (at least chronologically) and so they decide to help steer him in what they consider to be the right direction. The ensuing narrative tells of misunderstanding, confrontation and a difference of cultural context. Asha was raised and educated in India and then had an arranged marriage which took her to a new life in Canada. Ravi is a Canadian with expectations and many of the values his country has given him.

The mainstay of this production is the evident bond and respect between son and mother. Asha is not a trained actor but tells her story with evident affection and also some of the pain which sons are known to proffer to their mothers. She imbues a natural maternal warmth which radiates not just to her son but to the whole of the audience. Her son is sharp, perceptive and quick witted but it becomes evident, he cannot outsmart his mother. She has the wisdom of years and unconditional love for her family and although she and Ravi may disagree on some aspects of his life path and choices, her concern for his happiness is undeniable. It is a joy to see Asha on stage, claiming her place and delivering her story with integrity and compassion.

Ravi has written an excellent autobiographical piece about a chapter of his life. It is delivered with humour and passion and with plenty of space for spontaneity and improvisation. He no doubt could have delivered this as a one man show and it would have worked perfectly adequately, even well. However, by choosing to include his mother, the story is elevated to something far more inclusive and beguiling. The story itself is age old and brand new all at the same time. It raises issues pertinent to our society today yet chiming through with the dilemmas of our elders and ancestors. The story is as relevant today as it has been historically, and in a new guise, will be in the future. It is timeless and contemporary.

As an audience member I felt very much a part of the story and was enthralled by the charisma the two created. The tale was performed with humour and candour which pulled me in but moreover made me really want a happy outcome for the two.

This was a warm and enchanting theatrical experience and left a glow of positivity to be savoured. As a shared human experience it was a delight. It is something to be enjoyed by young and old and will stimulate debate and criticism. Primarily however it is not merely a story of family love but a living breathing example of it played out on stage before the audience’s eyes. I would urge as many people as possible to secure tickets and go and see this show while it is in town.
4 stars

Review by Lesley Bardell

In this hilarious show from Ravi Jain, the director of Complicite Creative Learning’s Like Mother, Like Daughter, real life mother and son Asha and Ravi Jain share the stage to tell this true story of generational and cultural clash.

Listings:
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Sat mat at 3pm
Tickets: £14 – £20 (£12 – £18 conc)
Suitable for ages 14+
8th to 19th September, 2015
http://www.tricycle.co.uk/

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