Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Interview with Jez Simons

East is Not Just East according to writer and director, Jez Simons. Freelance journalist, Jemma Crowston, caught up with the artistic director of Hathi Productions about this week’s musical comedy extravaganza.

The show, East is Not Just East is the reaction from Simons and other people in Leicester following the 1999 hit film East is East. He said, “[East is East] didn’t reflect the true experience of the Hindu community particularly in Leicester. So I wanted to write something that did.”

Simons, from Enderby, is delighted to present his take on the original film which includes music from the 70s, 80s and 90s to tell the story of the Leicester Communities epic journey across three continents.

From Ahmedabad to Nairobi from Mombasa to Rushey Mead. From the red earth of India to the rockery of Kampala to the block paving of Birstall. Audiences are invited to join Hathi on a journey of a lifetime.

Simons, whose credits include writing for TV series such as Eastenders, Emmerdale and Family Affairs, said, “The story has been created from my own research and my personal knowledge of the Hindu Asian community.”

East is Not Just East is a traditional fusion of dance, drama and music. It combines Khatak dance with Marc Bolan, Raas with the Rubettes and Garba with Lady Gaga in one night!

The 15-strong cast are all from Leicester.

When asked what his favourite scene is, Simons replied, “Any scenes with Joshi in it are great. He’s a very funny character and gets up to things you wouldn’t necessarily associate with an older member of the Asian community but nevertheless these things do happen.”

Joshi, who is played by Vinay Trivedi, is a character that many Hindu’s will relate to and recognise in their own communities according to Simons.

Simons was surprised to find that some of the younger generation don’t know the history of their ancestors when he was doing his research for the show. He said, “It’s an epic tale that should be remembered and I hope everyone will enjoy it.” The bi-lingual production sees the cast mix different languages together but Simons says, “Even though they use English and Gujarati and other languages in the same sentence I think the audience will still understand what is going on from the gestures and expressions.”

After the fantastic Lalita’s Big Fat Asian Wedding production last year, Simons is excited to return to Curve. He said, “Lalita was a great hit and it’s now been bought for a show in Birmingham in the summer. I love working with Paul [Kerryson] and Curve to build up the audiences.

“Hathi Productions are like no other theatre shows so if the audience want to experience something they’ve never had before then come and see one of our shows. If you can’t make East is just Not East then hold on for Taj in the Autumn season at Curve.”

Taj will be Hathi’s third production at Curve which will tell the real story behind infamous Taj Mahal.

East is Just Not East will be lighting the stage at Curve for three nights only from Thursday, April 7. For tickets visit www.curveonline.co.uk

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