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Blood, Tamasha/Belgrade Theatre. Photo: Robert Day Blood, Tamasha/Belgrade Theatre. Photo: Robert Day
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Tamasha celebrates its 25th anniversary with this new play by performance poet Emteaz Hussain, who worked with the company for her debut, Sweet Cider, in 2008. Blood is a co-production with the Belgrade, Coventry, where the play opened in March, and it now visits central London before continuing on a nationwide tour.

A brilliantly written re-imagination of the Romeo and Juliet story, this two-hander begins with the meeting of happy-go-lucky Sully and posh Caneze in a college canteen. As they get to know each other better, Sully is threatened by Saif, Caneze’s brother, who is a Pakistani gangster and who vows to protect his sister’s honour. Eventually, both young lovers are subjected to frightful violence.

Hussain writes this passion-filled tale with lashings of humour as well as intense feeling. Adam Samuel-Bal (Sully) and Krupa Pattani (Caneze) not only play their main characters, but also a host of other people, from Saif to Sully’s Pakistani aunt. Pattani conveys all the confidence of a privileged family’s daughter, while Samuel-Bal perfectly catches the awkwardness of the boy who has always been seen as a loser.

In Esther Richardson’s wonderfully theatrical production, Pattani gradually discovers her character’s ability to trust, and Samuel-Bal grows slowly into a man. The result is a very satisfying evening, in which you can easily admire the finesse of the storytelling, the writing’s stylish poetry and the deep emotions that come from two great performances. This is a superb example of new writing, and the enjoyable production is a fitting tribute to this company’s good work.

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Tamasha’s contemporary love story is wonderfully written and performed, with poetic passages and moments of great emotional truth