The comedy about a young couple unable to consummate their marriage while living in the Bolton terraced house of the groom’s parents is an adaptation by Ayub Khan-Din of Bill Naughton’s 1963 northern domestic comedy All in Good Time. Khan-Din sets the story amongst a modern British-Asian family.
Khan-Din is best known for East Is East, which was also made into a hit Brit flick. Rafta, Rafta... is his first stage work in more than ten years. It’s directed by NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner, with a cast featuring Meera Syal and Harish Patel, star of more than 80 Bollywood films and a regular at the Indian National Theatre, who makes his London stage debut in the production.
While critics praised the arrival of such a warm-hearted and amusing new Asian play, some had doubts about how well Naughton’s “old-fashioned” comedy suited the demands of Khan-Din’s new modern time and place, particularly in its tidily imposed happy ending. However, the comic delights of Hytner’s colourful production and his vivacious cast proved distraction enough for most, with extra plaudits reserved for larger-than-life Bollywood import Harish Patel.
- by Malcolm Rock