True Brits

True Brits is an unusually subtle and warm one man show. It takes a light, often comic approach to some serious subjects and is so successful that it is difficult to believe this is Vinay Patel's first fully produced play.

This is an intelligent, beautiful piece of theatre that ought to put everyone involved on our 'ones to watch' lists.

The play follows the story of a young British Asian sixth former, a third generation immigrant born and raised in London who identifies wholly as British. He experiences both the changing attitudes of other Londoners after the 7/7 bombings and the intense sense of togetherness brought by the 2012 Olympics. Ultimately, though, it's his close personal relationships that really make the story.

The main character, Rahul, is utterly captivating. It is impossible not to feel invested in him, with his self-aware little asides to the audience and the sheer innocent passion of his patriotism,.His actions, though occasionally questionable, are always so eloquently explained as to feel entirely understandable. Sid Sagar as Rahul brings a disarming, vulnerable quality to the character's frankness. He’s so good a storyteller that you leave feeling you know his girlfriend and his best mate almost as well as you know him. The memorable characters are conveyed with light touches of physical description and equally nuanced performance.

The script is subtle, never making any accusations or points (in fact, it seems to studiously avoid doing so) because it never needs to. All it needs to do is relate Rahul’s experiences and leave it at that. Yes, of course the police's 'stop and searches' are conducted at random. It's just a coincidence that Rahul now has a collection of the little pink slips they give you afterwards. For the most part, the play steers clear of overt forms of racism and deals instead with subtler, more insidious forms. The conversation the main character has with his girlfriend's dad is a particularly well executed piece of mounting horror.

It isn't quite pitch perfect. Occasionally, it's a little difficult to follow who is speaking in the dialogue sections, and it was a little ways into the play before I realised that some of it takes place in a flash-forward (hint: if he's wearing the black jacket, it's a 'future' scene), but it scarcely matters. This is an intelligent, beautiful piece of theatre that ought to put everyone involved on our 'ones to watch' lists.

Reviews by Grace Knight

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

When a violent encounter leads to a whirlwind romance, young Rahul is more than willing to be caught up. But in the aftermath of 7/7, his world changes in ways he cannot control, drawing him into ever-darker places as he struggles to remain part of a British society that now distrusts him on sight. Sweeping between the paranoid London of 2005 and the euphoric city of the 2012 Olympics, HighTide Escalator writer Vinay Patel's debut play is an honest, humorous, hopeful tale about wanting to love and be loved. By your crush. By your friends. By your country.