Lions and Tigers.
Admittedly, not usually the sort of thing you’d be keen to encounter in a small, packed theatre.
But hear us out, because it’s also the title of the newest play from leading author, Tanika Gupta. Having written scores of acclaimed plays for top-shelf theatres like the National and the Royal Court throughout her career, she’s now looking back at her own family history to tell the story of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century.
It’s all unfolding in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; the amazingly intimate, candlelit indoor theatre right next to Shakespeare’s Globe. Like its cousin, it’s also a strikingly authentic recreation of a 17th century theatre, using architectural plans of the period to inspire the snug gallery seating, awe-inspiring ceiling mural and intricate stage panelling. Unlike its cousin, however, it’s also closed off to the elements and entirely lit by flickering chandeliers.
It’s the perfect atmospheric setting for following the true story of Gupta’s great uncle, Dinesh Gupta, and his young compatriots, written using Dinesh’s handwritten letters from prison, a 500 page family journal, and verbatim correspondence between Gandhi, the future prime minister Nehru, and the militant nationalist, Subhas Chandra Bose. It’s a bold, sometimes comic, but above all personal tale that’ll leave you with plenty to mull over.
And we ain’t lion.
NOTE: Lions and Tigers runs until 16th September at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Tickets start from £10 standing and can be booked HERE (Nudge Members also have a pretty sweet deal going. Log in to find out more).
Lions and Tigers | Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT
Like watching plays in atmospheric settings? The Globe’s pretty good for that, too…