Although the production was first performed in London, Rafta, Rafta’s arrival in Bolton is something of a homecoming. Not only is it set in Bolton’s close-knit Asian community, but the play is also based on a classic play by the town’s very own: Bill Naughton. 2010 is Bill Naughton’s centenary year.
The wedding feast is over and the young couple move in with the groom’s parents. But how can they live happily ever after with the family so close by – especially with his father’s constant disapproval and his brother’s childish pranks? The beautiful virgin bride remains just that. How will the family live with the shame?
Ayub Khan-Din is most famous for his Salford-set play East is East, which was made into a hugely successful film in 1999. A sequel, entitled West is West, will be released later this year. Ayub first wrote Rafta, Rafta for the National Theatre and its extraordinary success in London led to it being taken on a national tour. He believes he owes much of the success of the show to the genius of Bill Naughton:
“I came across The Family Way one wet afternoon in Salford. The images and emotions I felt on that first viewing have never left me. There was no getting away from the fact that there were so many aspects of the father that resembled our own. After some research I discovered the film was based on Bill’s play All in Good Time and when I was approached to write something for the National Theatre I suggested an Asian version of the play. As a writer you sometimes come across a piece of work that leaves such an indelible mark on your life that it makes you think “God, I wish I’d written that”. Well luckily for me, in getting to adapt this great piece of work, its allowed me to have done so.”
Rafta, Rafta is directed by Iqbal Khan whose production of Oleanna at the Octagon last year was nominated for four Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. He also worked as tour director on the National Theatre’s production of Rafta, Rafta. The cast of ten includes Rani Moorthy who, alongside television work including Coronation Street and Cold Feet, is Artistic Director of the award-winning Manchester-based company Rasa Theatre.
Rafta, Rafta runs at the Octagon from 13 May - 5 June.