On Wednesday, I was very kindly invited to a Blogger’s Night at the Bush Theatre for a performance of Guards at the Taj. Directed by critically acclaimed Jamie Lloyd and written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, the show follows two guards who are keeping watch as the Taj Mahal is built in 1648 India.
Before the show, there was a talk by Stewart Pringle. Stewart is an acclaimed theatre critic who had written for publications including The Stage, The Guardian and Time Out, the body of work one only dreams of. He is currently the Associate Dramaturg at the Bush Theatre and was telling us about the new, exciting elements to the Bush Theatre since it’s renovation. As well as the 200 seat main stage, there’s a new studio, a gorgeous Reading Room & rooms for writers to work on their work. Stewart is incredibly passionate about new writing as well as the blogging community as it’s where he started. It was refreshing to hear someone be so welcoming and inviting to us bloggers who were there. It’s a hell of a lot better than being dismissed!
Guards At The Taj is the first show in the main stage since it’s opening. The play follows Humayun and Babur, who are guarding the Taj Mahal just as it’s about to be completed but they are forbidden to take a look at it. On a quiet night, they sneak a peek at the Taj Mahal and experience horrific consequences as a result. It was quite nice to watch a play about brotherhood and have it linked to what the meaning of beauty is, as beauty is typically gendered as a main focus for women.
Danny Ashok and Darren Kuppan play off each other incredibly well in this two handed play. There’s fantastic use of lighting in this production. The play balances along the fine line of being incredibly tense as well as being incredibly funny; which Richard Howell’s lighting only enhanced. At a straight run through of 1hr 10 minutes, most of the time the play seemed to fly by. But there are a couple of moments in the play that really dragged out, more longer than they should’ve; a scene with brief nudity and two moments of complete blackout. And what is a Jamie Lloyd play without lots of blood and gore?
Written with a modern tongue, Guards At The Taj is a very interesting play and in a very interesting new space. Smaller theatres often get dismissed for being too hidden away but the Bush is a welcoming and open space situated right opposite Shepherd’s Bush Market station. Guards At The Taj is a wonderful play to open the new venue with.
Guards At The Taj is running at the Bush Theatre until 20th May. For tickets and more information of the show visit https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/guards-at-the-taj/. For more information on the Bush Theatre visit https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/
Huge thanks to the Bush for having me at their bloggers night!
Until next time,
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