Siddhartha Bose is a poet, playwright and performer from India by way of the US and now living in his most glamorous location yet - Hackney Wick in London’s East End. Not being familiar with his work, I surmise that his principal strength is as a wordsmith. He also has an original and generous approach to welcoming his audience. Delicious Indian sweets are handed round before the show starts. Your reviewer is an aficionado and guiltily accepted two pieces.
Bose tells a tale, plainly autobiographical in framework if not also in the detail, about an Indian named Kalagora who arrives in London by way of Manhattan on Millennium night. He paints vivid word pictures ("Mumbai – mind-fuck mega-city"). There are vignettes where he plays himself being interviewed by the US immigration officer from hell; "what colour underpants are you wearing?". These are effective and entertaining, although I’m not sure they make up a show. And I feel Bose needs to hone his acting skills to make the transition from page to stage fully persuasive.
This is essentially a long narrative poem. As such, it suffers from having the story narrated as opposed to played out. Devices are deployed to mitigate this - music, a film in triptych – and the language is never less than vivid. There are characters aplenty in this story. It feels ripe for opening out onto a film or television screen. I’m not convinced about it as a play.