It’s appropriate that the Library Theatre Company should present Ayub Khan-Din’s All the Way Home at the Lowry in Salford. For, not only was the writer of East is East, West is West and award-nominated Rafta Rafta, born in that city but his new play is set there.
It’s about the members of a family who meet to await the impending loss of their brother Frankie who is dying of cancer. As the relatives revive past conflicts, the old adage that you can choose your friends but not your family proves true.The inevitable squabbles only underline the love.
Each of the eight characters is different yet link together like notes in a scale. However, fine tuning the dialogue, without removing the hilarious one liners, would make Khan-Din’s piece both compact and even more compelling.
Julie Riley stands out as the common but vulnerable Sonia, so different from her upwardly mobile sister, the “snobby bitch” from Didsbury played by Kate Anthony. Two male siblings, the slow Phillip (Paul Simpson) and successful photographer, Brian (Sean Gallagher) also contrast well. It is Brian who cooks the exotic lamb dinner which challenges the family’s taste buds and their language!
As they leave for the funeral, it is the invisible ninth character, Frankie, who impacts as the spotlight emphasises his empty chair.