Based on the 1924 novel by E.M. Forster, the stage adaptation of A Passage to India, whilst entertaining, seemed underdeveloped for what could of been a more complex production of Forster’s novel.
Asif Khan’s characterisation of Aziz had the audience roaring with laughter. However, there is something uneasy about watching an adaptation of a novel intended for a 1924 audience, especially one that deals with issues of race, religion and sexism; in 2018. Therefore, due to lack of sufficient context from the novel, the laughter felt conflicted at times as Aziz became (unintentionally) more of a comic prop than a well-communicated, individual character.
I also felt this to be the case with the character of Godbole, whose long pauses and mysticism tickled the audience. This dated-British vision of an Indian Professor is comical in it’s naivety, but at times, it was (again, unintentionally) a struggle to remember what exactly was made out to be comical. However, since the first adaptation by Dormandy staring a young, cross-dressed Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston of all people, the cast choices have certainly come a long way in terms of diversity and representation.
The live music by Composer and Musician, Kuljit Bhamra, was a joy to experience and went seamlessly hand-in-hand with the dim-lit set design. However, actors chanting in unison to a drum beat, and using giant bamboo sticks as instruments came across as a strange transition from the music, and the organisation of it was hit and miss.
The main issues that contributed to an underdeveloped adaptation of Forster’s novel, was largely due to context that had been slashed from the performance. The jumps from main plot event to main plot event, at times, felt like a summary and characters such as Adela, to no fault of the actor, felt far too simplistic.