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Iconic film star to appear in powerful stage drama of My Beautiful Laundrette

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An unmissable new production of the Oscar-nominated screenplay My Beautiful Laundrette will feature the original lead actor Gordon Warnecke in the talented cast at Blackpool Grand Theatre this April.

Don’t miss out on this theatrical treat!

 

An upliftingly powerful production of My Beautiful Laundrette will storm into Blackpool Grand Theatre from Tuesday 2 April to Saturday 6 April featuring the original lead actor Gordon Warnecke from Hanif Kureishi’s iconic Oscar-nominated film. It’s not to be missed!

This bold new staging of Kureishi’s ground-breaking film, is directed by Nicole Behan and explores cultural conflict, gender equality, class and generational strife, all presented against a funky backdrop of 80s music and culture, with additional original music composed by the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. This culture clash comedy is also a subversive work of social realism, sprinkled with magic and joy running through the rich veins of Kureishi’s writing.

 

Set in South London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Laundrette tells the captivating story of young British Pakistani, Omar, who transforms his Uncle’s run-down laundrette into a thriving business. After being confronted by a fascist gang, Omar recognises former school friend Johnny and uses their history to diffuse the dangerous situation. As they renovate the laundrette together, love blossoms between them…

 

‘Could anyone in their right mind call this silly little island off of Europe their home?’ – My Beautiful Laundrette.

 

Gordon Warnecke originally played the lead role of Omar in Stephen Frear’s Oscar-nominated 1985 film of the same name, and returns to the drama as Omar’s wise but world-weary Papa. Gordon will be joined by Lucca Chadwick-Patel (Millennials, The Other Palace) as Omar; Sam Mitchell (To Kill a Mockingbird) as Omar’s fascist former school-friend, Johnny; Kammy Darweish (Linck & Mulhahn) as Omar’s enterprising Thatcherite Uncle Nasser, Paddy Daly (BBC1’s New Blood) as right-wing thug Genghis and Hareet Deol (Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge4) will reprise his WhatsOnStage Award nominated performance as Salim, Nasser’s right-hand man. Emma Bown (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) will play the roles of Nasser’s lover, Rachel and skinhead, Moose; while Sharan Phull (Pink Sari Revolution, The Importance of Being Earnest, Scrooge the Musical) plays Nasser’s daughter, Tania.

 

Gordon Warnecke spoke of his excitement for returning to the role of Papa.

 

What was it like to be part of the film of Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985?

‘It was a very exciting time; I hadn’t done any film before and Rita Wolf – who played Tania in the film – happened to see me in a show I was doing.

‘She suggested I was seen for it so I went along and met Hanif, and Stephen Frears who directed the film. I had a couple of auditions, and also met Daniel Day-Lewis (Johnny). They had a couple of different actors in mind (for Johnny) including Gary Oldman, and I recently found out they were looking at Kenneth Branagh, but Dan really wanted the part. It was a good time to be doing it, we were all very young and the crew were also very young. A lot of them went on to do some amazing work, including Sarah Radclyffe and Tim Bevan who created Working Title and went on to make Four Weddings and a Funeral and loads of other top British films.

‘At the time we thought we were making a ‘small’ film for Channel 4 to kick start their inaugural film season. It was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival (before being shown on television), and Jeremy Isaacs – who at the time was Head of Channel 4 – pushed for a cinematic release.’

 

It is such an iconic film; how does it feel looking back on it?

‘I’m constantly reminded about it because I think it was a very important part of the British film industry. It’s had this life of being shown on TV, shown in cinemas still, and it’s being taught in universities in Film Studies -and then the stage play came along.  In virtually every venue we take the play, I have guys coming up to me saying, “Thank you, we came to see your film all those years ago and it helped us come out.” I’ve had that all through my life. If I’ve done anything in my career, in my life, that was to be part of something that allowed people to be themselves. I feel incredibly proud to be part of that movement.’

 

Almost 40 years after the release of the original film, how do you think 2024 audiences will react to this story? Have attitudes and society changed since then?

‘There are many elements within Hanif’s story that will resonate with all ages who come to see the play. The desire to ‘better’ oneself, family issues and an endearing love story. There’s been a continual integration of different cultures within our society and a lot more acceptance. I think (British) society has become a lot more tolerant in its attitude towards gay people, but unfortunately there is still a degree of homophobia sometimes resulting in disgusting comments and actual physical attacks on members of the gay community. I would say that Laundrette is timeless. Even though it was written almost 40 years ago, and issues that existed then still surface now in one way or another, but Hanif’s script covers these in an informative and entertaining way.’

 

What do you think putting My Beautiful Laundrette on stage brings to the story?

‘I think for a certain age it will be very resonant, I think it will remind them of the music of the times of Thatcherism, of being an entrepreneur, all of that will come floating back. For the younger generation, it’s interesting to look at to see what Britain was like. There are topics that will be new to people who come to see the show, but it still has elements that are relevant today. For example, homophobia, racism, making money, arranged marriages, young women trying to break out. There will be girls coming to see this that maybe feel the same way as Tania feels – that she has to break out.’

 

 

My Beautiful Laundrette was developed with the support of the National Theatre’s Generate programme and is a Theatre Nation Partnership production, produced by Curve, Leicester.

Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette is at Blackpool Grand Theatre from Tuesday 2 April to Saturday 6 April 2024 with evening and matinee performances.

Tickets from £19.50 with concessions and group rates available, plus extra special offers for Grand Theatre 1894 Club Members.

Tickets also available at just £15.50 for 18 to 26-year-olds as part of the national ticket scheme to encourage young adults to experience all forms of live theatre.

 

Age guidance 15+ – this production contains strong language and adult themes including violence and racism.

  • There’s also an extra special FREE pre-show Matinee Circle talk with the My Beautiful Laundrette cast and crew members on Thursday 4 April at 1pm in The Space at Blackpool Grand Theatre. Places are LIMITED and are FREE when buying show tickets for the matinee performance or can be added to your show booking at any time by calling the Grand Theatre Box Office.

Please call the Grand Theatre Box Office on 01253 290190 or visit www.BlackpoolGrand.co.uk for full listings, bookings and further information.

And don’t forget! You can pre-book bottles of ice-chilled sparkling Prosecco, fragrant fresh flowers and delicious chocolate truffles to treat your loved ones to the theatrical experience of a lifetime!

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