This poignant coming-of-age tale follows Meena, a young girl growing up in the only Punjabi family in a 1970s Black Country mining village. Meena spends her days happily getting into scrapes with the other local children until one day the impossibly cool Anita enters her life. Suddenly Meena knows exactly who she wants to be but is Anita all that she seems? Soon Meena’s world is turned upside down as she is caught between two very different cultures.
Anita and Me paints a comic, poignant, compassionate and colourful portrait of village life in the era of flares, power cuts, glam rock, decimalisation and Ted Heath. It has been adapted for the stage by the multi-award-winning Tanika Gupta.
‘I’ve always liked and admired the work of Meera Syal but I still wasn’t expecting to fall around with mirth at Tanika Gupta’s hilarious stage adaptation… Warmly recommended.’ Independent
‘Meera’s brilliant novel is a wonderful coming of age story. It’s an engaging and funny tale set in a tight knit community about a young girl trying to decide her cultural identity and I look forward immensely to realising it on stage.’ Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
‘Gupta’s version starts with two advantages. It comes with original music by Ben and Max Ringham, played on stage by Tarek Merchant in the character of Hairy Ned, which gives life to the action and fulfils several functions… The second big asset of Gupta’s adaptation is its local resonance… More importantly, the on-off friendship between the sharp-witted Meena and the tart-tongued Anita echoes the larger contrast between the dreams of aspirations Asians and the limited horizons of the working-class English… The show has a communal zest that connects directly with its Birmingham audience.’ Michael Billington, Guardian
‘It’s played with vim, often amusing, sometimes poignant…we get to feel Meena’s identity crisis… we feel her confusion and also, impressively, that of local racists nastily trying to assert their power as their world changes around them… an entertaining show’ The Times
‘Gupta and the director Roxana Silbert cram a lot into two hours, from working women’s badinage to bhangra and postcolonial politics. The result is a colourful show.’ Sunday Times