An emotional rollercoaster from the start, My Beautiful Launderette followed the story of Omar (Omar Malik) and Johnny (Jonny Fines), two young men trying to find their place in the world and prove what they are worth, all while previous feelings are being rekindled between them.
Set against the backdrop of London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Launderette explored sexuality, gender inequality, cultural conflicts and many other topics that were revolutionary for the 1980s, when the screenplay was originally released.
From the moment I walked in the theatre, I was curious to know what was happening. Amongst the grey, graffitied set was a man in bed, while three other men lay on the floor, before the show even began. Everything about it was visually stunning, capturing the midst of London one minute and hopping to several different households the next. The set was brilliant, constantly being moved around and completely transforming the scenes.
The true stand out of the play were the actors. Each perfectly captured their role, whether they were playing one or multiple characters. Omar and Jonny played their characters in a way that slowly built up the romantic tension, making the audience root for them and eager to confess their feelings. Though their relationship was a secret, it was one of hope for a better future and showed the tender side of their characters, as well as laddish banter.
While the main focus of the play was their relationship and building up their business, the sub plots really stood out, each leaving you wondering how they would resolve throughout. From Tania (Nicole Jebeli) determined to break the traditional female role to Nasser’s (Kammy Darweish) unraveling affair, every moment challenged ideas of tradition, love and cultural tensions. Each topic was flawlessly dealt with and left me thinking long after the play was done.
If you are a fan of the screenplay, romances or just looking for an enjoyable night out, go and see My Beautiful Launderette at the Belgrade Theatre. It is sure to leave you with a warm feeling and tears in your eyes.
My Beautiful Launderette runs at the Belgrade Theatre until Saturday 2nd November 2019
Photo Credit: Ellie Kurttz