The trials of gowing up Gujarati in Blair’s Britain, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
True Brits switches between narrator Rahul’s experiences at school in 2005 and the 2012 Olympics. Juxtaposing the shock of the terror attacks on 7/7 against the national unity of the games seven years later, the script uses these iconic moments to analysis how Britishness is defined by more than skin colour.
The inter-racial politics and confusions of growing up Muslim in south east London are well developed, and the laconic Rahul becomes an amiable guide through his late teenage anguish. The various voices from his own community – as well as friends and lovers – are given life through the small quirks and humanising (sometimes cringing) blunders.
The play manages successfully to capture of the anxiety of the youth of Blair’s Britain, regardless of race, although the character's journey is not always consistent. The suddenness of the narrator’s violent outburst in the third act seems at odds with his behaviour in the first. And while the theme of what it means to be British is a constant touchstone, the questions asked are not really addressed in full.
Still, True Brits is a warm and serious play that takes on a crucial discussion about identity from an angle that is often ignored as the Referendum looms in Scotland.
Assembly Hall, 220 4348, until 25 Aug (not 11) 5.40pm, £10 (£9).