Adventure before dementia sums up the witty and sparkling theatre production of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Running until Saturday at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, this show is a must for young and old alike and a reminder to embrace life while you can.
Adapted from Deborah Moggach’s novel “These Foolish Things’’ and turned into a film, television show and a play, all under slightly different titles, it delves into the challenges and excitements which old age brings.
Star of “The Real Marigold Hotel’’ and television stalwart, Paul Nicholas, as long-suffering, turned rebel Douglas, leads an experienced cast, including Tessa Peake-Jones, best known as Del Boy’s wife in “Only Fools and Horses’’, as Evelyn, who as the play unfolds, falls in love with Douglas.
They are joined by well-known actor Graham Seed as hapless Norman, Belinda Lang (Madge), Eileen Batty (Jean), Marlene Sidaway (Muriel) and Paola Dionisotti (Dorothy) as they begin their new life far away from the UK, in India.
Out of their comfort zones, the group of pensioners discover the highs and lows of living in their new “residential hotel’’, far cheaper and less hassle than their previous homes.
What results is a host of one liners, poignant moments and lots of lovely Indian music, all played out on a colourful and exotic set.
The group live in blissful ignorance as hotelier Sonny Kapoor (Nishad More) and his smothering mum, Mrs Kapoor (Rekha John-Cheriyan) battle to save their establishment from financial ruin and the clutches of entrepreneur Mr Gupta (Tiran Aakel), who doubles up as Fernandes The Cook.
Sonny has the further complication of hiding his secret love Sahani (Shila Iqbal) from his mother, especially when Evelyn strikes up a friendship with Sahani through her work at a call centre.
Having stumbled across the centre, Evelyn helps the employees Kamila (Kerena Jagpal) and Anant Varman (Mohan) become “English’’ in a bid to sell their products to the UK market and there are many hilarious scenes.
Harmage Singh Kalirai makes up the cast as Jimmy, who works in the hotel and discovers Dorothy was his childhood friend. He also doubles up as the Holy Man and a waiter, in this very versatile play.
Director Lucy Bailey has worked well with the original book and treats the subject of becoming old with sensitivity and humour in a very well-acted and received play.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel finishes in Edinburgh on Saturday and then moves to Belfast on June 6th to 10th. For ticket information, please visit: www.atgtickets.com.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.
Photographs courtesy of Festival Theatre, Edinburgh