A Night At The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Is Pure Bliss

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a much loved film with a lot to say on the subject of growing old – the loneliness, the lose of a partner and of financial stability, and just the general fear of being past your usefulness. But it turns all these things on their heads when the protagonists of the story decide to go to India to revitalise their twilight years, turning the December of their lives into the time of their lives. Now, in a brilliant stage adaptation by Deborah Moggach, who wrote the original novel the film was based on, theatre audiences at the Wolverhampton Grand being treated to a wonderful spectacle that has a whole lot of heart and plenty of laughs along the way.

Sonny Kapoor and his inimitable mother own a crumbling hotel in Bangalore. It is on it’s last legs, both financially and figuratively, but Sonny has a brainwave which he thinks will help the hotel to survive. He advertises it as a retirement home for people from the UK, and soon the hotel receives its first guests, the shy, unassuming Evelyn, married couple Douglas and Jean who seem to have the perfect relationship until you look a little closer, The vampish Madge, the mysterious Dorothy and Muriel, who seems happy to sit in the sun and do nothing. The retirement home is not what they expected, with awful food and bad wifi, but, little by little India gets under the skin of the residents, and they blossom, finding new talents, making new friends, even gaining love and employment. But when their new life is put under threat, the residents galvanise themselves to save the life they have come to love.

This is a truly wonderful story that the fabulous cast bring to life in serious style. All the performances are wonderful, from the blossoming of Evelyn, played with beautiful simplicity by Tessa Peake Jones, to Paul Nicholas playing against type as the meek, under the thumb Douglas, totally dominated by the wonderfully strident Eileen Battye as wife Jean. Belinda Lang is fabulously feisty as Madge, looking for love, and finding it in a wonderful scene with Mr Gupta (Tiran Aakel),  where she drops the ‘F’ bomb to the absolute delight of the audience. There are more truly touching scenes when the mysterious Dorothy (Paola Dionisotti) discovers her childhood friend (Kriss Dosanjh) has been at the hotel all along ( I defy you not to shed a tear), and also in the sweet romance between Sonny (Nishad More), and his lovely, but forbidden love Sahani (Shila Iqbal). Continuing the theme of unlikely friendships are Muriel (Marlene Sidaway- frequently hilarious), the most elderly of the pensioners, but also the most militant in her refusal to treat the floor scrubbing servant Tikal (Anant Varman) as anything less than an equal, and Mrs Kapoor (Rekha John-Cheriyan) and Norman  (Graham Seed), who bond whilst sharing the secrets of their past loves. Rounding out this fabulous cast are Kerena Jagpal and again Anant Varman as Mohal, who excel in the light hearted call centre scenes. Each member of this cast delivers perfectly in every single scene.

The magic of India is brought to life by the clever set, and the use of Indian music that makes the whole experience atmospheric – you can almost feel yourself drifting off  and dreaming of India.

Smart, warm-hearted and both funny and sad, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a wry, witty look at growing old disgracefully.


Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

30 Mar–01 Apr 2023

Click here for ticket information


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