Reviews are in for Anupama Chandresekhar’s “startling and powerful” new “haunting beast of a play” When the Crows Visit at London’s Kiln Theatre, where it continues until 30 November. We’ve rounded up highlights from Asian culture vultures and other critics. Time to get booking!
…and all the sins of his father and his forefathers came out of his body, through the pores of his skin, in the form of crows. When a son returns home after being accused of a violent crime, a mother is forced to confront the ghosts of her past when the crows visit.
Inspired by true events in modern-day India, Anupama Chandrasekhar explores the themes of Ibsen’s Ghosts and the cyclical nature of oppression. Kiln artistic director Indhu Rubasingham directs Ayesha Dharker and Bally Gill as mother and son in a cast that also includes Mariam Haque, Asif Khan, Aryana Ramkhalawon, Paul G Raymond and Soni Razdan.
Nick Curtis: “In this startling, powerful play, Anupama Chandrasekhar transposes the family legacy of abuse and complicity from Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts to contemporary India… Rubasingham makes full use of Ayesha Dharker’s gravitas and ability to display endless, nuanced shades of contempt.”
Rosemary Waugh: “Anupama Chandrasekhar’s When the Crows Visit is a haunting beast of a play, one that persistently claws away at expectations and comforts until nothing remains but a raw, painful wound… Dharker, who is iridescent, makes Hema a shape-shifting bundle of sympathy, sadness and utterly despicable behaviour.”
Libby Purves: “Dharker is exceptional: subtly conflicted, plunging in and out of angry denial, aware from her years of brutal submission of the imbalance of the sexes but blanking out the awful truth about her son… A violently disturbing play, and so it should be.”
Love London Love Culture – ★★★★
Emma Clarendon: “When the Crows Visit brilliantly highlights how it’s not only those who commit the crime but also those who stand aside and watch it happen who have to face the consequences… Chilling.”
Philip Fisher: “A gripping drama which explores the nature of families… A worthwhile and important drama shining a light on the difficulties that so many women still face in India today.”
Sam Marlowe: “The past poisons the present and the spirit of an oppressive patriarch refuses to die… The piece has a jagged compulsion, and its avian imagery is darkly powerful: a raucous, hovering menace of pain, fear and rage.”
Asian Culture Vulture: Talking misogyny & morality
Suman Bhuchar: “There are very few playwrights in India commenting on contemporary society and Indhu Rubasingham considers Anupama Chandrasekhar an important voice>”
Sex tapes & acid attacks: the playwright shocking India
Arifa Akbar: “Her dramas confront the growing horrors facing women in India today. Now she’s reworked Ibsen’s Ghosts, taking out the syphilis and putting in the Delhi bus gang rape of 2012.”
When the Crows Visit runs from 23 October to 20 November 2019 at the Kiln Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR, with performances Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced £10-£32.50. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!