Ali J

Shekinah Jacob
Pleasance Courtyard

Ali J

Even in the multicultural melting point of Edinburgh, a play from India is a rarity. Ali J therefore offers something almost unique, which is a different artistic and performing aesthetic.

Quite where reality ends and fiction starts is deliberately blurred in a text about an actor who relates his story from Death Row, awaiting execution for perpetrating a terrorist outrage.

T M Karthik is a likeable performer, who give his character, Azeem Ali J warmth. That is necessary when you are playing a mass murderer.

There are a number of elements that build into the man. An impoverished childhood as son of a Muslim sweet-seller in India is the starting point.

Azeem then travels to study in London but switches from hospitality management to acting and never looks back or for that matter forwards.

After a few unsuccessful auditions, the next step is back to a Chennai call centre where Azeem carelessly falls for a Hindu girl, leading to the prospect of even greater humiliations.

Quite how he jumps from there to the death cell is a little hazy but randomness is part of life in India.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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