Theatre, Off-West End
4 out of 5 stars
 (© Robert Day)
© Robert DayAdam Samuel-Bal (Sully) and Krupa Pattani (Caneze) in 'Blood'
 (© Robert Day)
© Robert DayAdam Samuel-Bal (Sully) and Krupa Pattani (Caneze) in 'Blood'
 (© Robert Day)
© Robert DayAdam Samuel-Bal (Sully) in 'Blood'
 (© Robert Day)
© Robert DayAdam Samuel-Bal (Sully) and Krupa Pattani (Caneze) in 'Blood'
 (© Robert Day)
© Robert DayKrupa Pattani (Caneze) in 'Blood'

A tender star-crossed love story from Tamasha theatre company.

What is it about a Nando’s reference that’s guaranteed to have audiences guffawing into their production notes? Whatever it is, there’s a moment near the start of ‘Blood’ – as a pair of courting college kids ease the first-date tension by discussing the merits of peri-peri sauce – where it looks like things could go horribly wrong. But thankfully mentions of Portuguese grilled chicken are just about the only tiresome element of this wonderfully sharp, poignant two-hander from theatre group Tamasha, written by Emteaz Hussain.

A love story as old as time, ‘Blood’ tells the tale of star-crossed lovers Caneze (Krupa Pattani) – a Midlands Muslim working at her college canteen – and Sully (Adam Samuel-Bal), an inept would-be beatboxer with a racial identity crisis and a puppy-cute grin. The pair are separated after Sully is hospitalised by Caneze’s disapproving brother, and Caneze is forced to weigh up her feelings for Sully against the wishes of her oppressively traditional family.

The performances here are never less than enthralling – both actors demonstrate extraordinary range as they mimic overbearing aunts and abusive fiancés with tragicomic, almost schizophrenic energy. Even as their relationship fractures, the chemistry between them is impossible to miss.

‘Blood’ is a tenderly told, endearingly acted play which, despite moments of darkness, keeps its humour to the very end.

By: David Clack


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