June 7 2016
Two actors play many roles in comic tour de force with the actress who has been there and done it…
By Suman Bhuchar
ACTOR Rina Fatania has a flair for comedy and her undoubted ability shines through in an updated hit comedy role she has reprised from 2013.
Fatania plays ‘Bindi’ in Tanika Gupta’s “Love n Stuff” at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, alongside Nicholas Khan, in a change in casting. Originally, she appeared with Tony Jayawardene, who can be seen in “The Invisible Hand” at the Tricycle Theatre presently.
Most recently, she garnered rave reviews for her role as Mrs Peachum in “Dead Dog in a Suitcase” by the Kneehigh Theatre Company, and written by Mike Shepherd, who adapted it from “The Beggars Opera”. The play enjoyed a succcessful UK run in 2014 before going abroad earlier this year. She told www.asianculturevulture.com she loved playing a ‘badass’ character.
With 16 years of experience behind her, she said there are not enough roles for Asian women and it is always good to play ‘the character’ and not simply ‘the ethnicity’.
She did tell us things are changing but perhaps a little more slowly than ideal and that actors are storytellers at the end of the day and should not be confined by their ethnicity.
Her role of credits is extensive and she has appeared in number of productions by Tamasha and Rifco. Among her earliest big breaks was Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Bombay Dreams” (2003) and she also has the award-winning “Britain’s Got Bhangra” (2010) and “The House of Bilquis Bibi” (2010).
Born and raised in Slough, she caught the acting bug at school – and even though her careers advisor didn’t encourage her at all – she later saw a copy of The Stage newspaper and found an advert for a foundation course at Mountview, did that and went onto train for three years at the Central School of Speech and Drama graduating in 2000.
www.asianculturevulture.com caught up with her in between performances to talk about ‘Love N Stuff’.
www.asianculturevulture.com (ACV): How have you found doing the play this time around?
Rina Fatania (RF): It is hectic work and an intense process, as it’s only the two of us on stage). Nicholas Khan is now playing ‘Mansoor’ – he is totally different to Tony Jayawardena. I wanted to have a connection with someone as it’s easy to work with them. Originally the piece was written for me and Tony, as ‘Bindi’ and ‘Mansoor’ are spin off of the characters from Tanika Gupta’s show, ‘Wah! Wah! Girls‘.
ACV: Is the show very different now?
RF: Bindi has changed, the script has created a spine but when you bring a new actor in, the dynamics change, along with the style and depth. Although they are spin off characters from Wah!Wah! Girls, it is a new piece and we both play seven or eight character each. I play a white rudie wannabie yardie; a Scottish policeman: an American waiting for a flight while having a disagreement with her husband on mobile; a hippie with a thing for Mansoor, as well as my key role of Bindi.
RF:I do enjoy comedy, it does come naturally but it’s all about timing. The comedy is within you.
ACV: You have worked with Tanika Gupta a lot?
RF: I first worked with Tanika Gupta in Wah! Wah! Girls (2012) then Love N Stuff (2013) and The Empress (2013) at the RSC. We have a nice relationship, she knows me well and she always says ‘Rina you will be great at this’.
ACV: What’s it like working with Nicholas Khan?
RF: It’s a difference working with another actor; as Tanika had written this piece for Tony and me originally. When we went first into the rehearsal room we explored what you can do. This time the original script has been changed and tweaked – there is a different energy in the rehearsal room – and the key was just to LISTEN. I know the rhythm and the speeches. I have to listen to what the actor is giving me and not just pre-empt the dialogue. It’s a challenge to do that as it is very easy to be robotic.
ACV: Why has it come round again?
RF: It was a sell out last time and it was in the studio. It’s such a good piece. The show is on the main stage now, and there are a few add-ons. There are lovely projections, the set is the same, but we have two new characters and we are playing it very differently. There are a lot of emotions, this is a story of a couple who have had a love marriage, they have sacrificed many things to be together, they have no children and they live together in Stratford and all of a sudden Mansoor (Khan) wants to go to India…
All pictures: Robert Day
‘Love N Stuff’ by Tanika Gupta, until June 25 8pm & 4pm (Saturday matinee), at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN –
See more at: http://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/love-n-stuff/#schedules
Review of 2013 production – http://asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/couple-on-the-verge-of-comic-breakdown/