By: Dulcie Harrison, TRP Reviewer
The stage adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s best-selling novel The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hits the stage at our beloved Theatre Royal Plymouth this week, and what a heart-warming show for Plymouth to embrace!
The set designed by Colin Richmond is really beautiful, it shows the hotel warmth and charm with delicate details that, along with clever lighting, really bring its full character to life.
The show starts with the death of Sonny Kapoor’s father and his mother’s desperation and grief with how she will manage now that he has passed. The hotel is in disrepair and has mountains of debt. Sonny (Nishad More) promises he will step into his father’s shoes and look after her while also making the hotel a success. A big promise that makes its way through the story line interwoven with following his heart and introducing the woman he loves and his mother’s insistence on tradition and marrying into wealth to secure the family’s future.
Enter the British retirees played brilliantly by stage and screen veteran actors, Douglas (Paul Nicholas), Madge (Belinda Lang), Evelyn (Tessa Peake-Jones), Norman (Graham Seed), Jean (Eileen Battye), and Dorothy (Paola Dionisotti).
Each tells their tale through various conversations with each other. As an audience we are allowed tiny snippets into their lives, Dorothy makes mysterious daily trips on her own and never quite tells anyone what she has done through the day causing them to speculate amongst themselves.
The show on the surface is light-hearted, warm and has quite witty moments. The audience were of a certain age demographic and as a younger viewer I couldn’t quite relate to the subjects but can understand how they would resonate with those who are a few years my senior. The play deals with an undercurrent of social divides, a post war India and the younger generation trying to build a new India different to those of their parents. It dealt with tradition and showed a stark difference in how different cultures treat and value their elders.
The harsh reality of life post-divorce/bereavement or having grown children who no longer rely on their parents and how it can be a struggle to find an identity again. I found that even though there was humour interjected with these points, there were some real poignant moments and I believe these feelings can be felt by many.
The acting was great, and I found the journey to The Marigold Hotel to be a very pleasant one. A gentle and humorous play with bags of character and charm and one that leaves you feeling happy you have been. Having been made into a very successful film it shows that it holds an obvious hold over the audience which creates all the more reason to go and catch it while you can!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel shows until Saturday 22nd April.