Balti Kings (1999)
By Sudha Bhuchar & Shaheen Khan
In Birmingham’s Balti Land, where Indian restaurants ruthlessly compete for custom, curry wars rage with price slashing and chef poaching.
Restaurateur Yahsin Anwar is on the verge of being swallowed up by the mighty Karachi Karahi. To ward off this threat, his family plan a grand re-opening where you can pile your plate for under a fiver and ‘curryoke’ into the night. But the temperature in the kitchen soon rises, as the chef is faced with the challenge of producing 35 dishes in five hours, hampered by staff whose personal affairs are also hotting up…
Balti Kings is a comical slice of contemporary British Asian life centred around the businessmen of the Midlands who have built their fortunes on the back of Britain’s most popular food. Sue Mayes' set for the show even featured a real working kitchen, ensuring that the actors not only had to remember their lines but cook as well. The play was also the inspiration for Tamasha’s first short film Midnight Feast.
Director Kristine Landon-Smith
Designer Sue Mayes
Lighting Designer Chris Davey
Composer Barrie Bignold
Sound Engineer Mike Furness
Original Cast Shammi Aulakh, Ameet Chana, Kriss Dosanjh, Nabil Elouahabi, Indira Joshi, Nizwar Karanj, Mirko Sekulic, Zelda Tinska, Anthony Zaki
“The writing is excellent, sharply observant about the lives of the luckless wage-slaves in the kitchen. The acting has a superb understated naturalism…the smells of the Indian cooking as winningly authentic as the humanity of the characterisation.”