Many great comedies are reimagined and this re-adaptation of Moliére’s Tartuffe, originally commissioned and produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company made with The Rep, is very obliging to the audience. Highly enjoyable and offering a new radical take on the original book that was produced in 1664.
It was Gregory Doran, the RSC’s leader, who surprised Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto (veterans of The Kumars, Citizen Khan etc) with the suggestion they adapt Moliere’s 17c comedy of hypocrisy, and set it in a Pakistani Muslim family in Birmingham, directed by Iqbal Khan.
Tartuffe could be an episode from a TV sitcom and proves, if any proof was necessary, that a satire written in 1664 – albeit much rewritten and refined by 21st-century adaptors – is still capable of bringing the house down.
A story about identity, packaged as a comedy but addressing some very real and hard-hitting issues, East is East is a slick production. Simon Nagra’s George Khan is a Pakistani immigrant, a staunch Muslim married to a Salford woman and the father of seven children. The play captures the life of his family as he does everything he can to cling on to his heritage and culture and we witness just how difficult this is.