“Gupta’s version starts with two advantages. It comes with original music by Ben and Max Ringham, played on stage by Tarek Merchant in the character of Hairy Ned, which gives life to the action and fulfills several functions… The second big asset of Gupta’s adaptation is its local resonance… More importantly, the on-off friendship between the sharp-witted Meena and the tart-tongued Anita echoes the larger contrast between the dreams of aspirations Asians and the limited horizons of the working-class English… The show has a communal zest that connects directly with its Birmingham audience.” –Michael Billington, Guardian
“It’s played with vim, often amusing, sometimes poignant…we get to feel Meena’s identity crisis… we feel her confusion and also, impressively, that of local racists nastily trying to assert their power as their world changes around them… an entertaining show” –The Times
“Gupta and the director Roxana Silbert cram a lot into two hours, from working women’s badinage to bhangra and postcolonial politics. The result is a colourful show.” –Sunday Times
This poignant coming-of-age tale follows Meena, a young girl growing up in the only Punjabi family in a 1970s Black Country mining village. Meena spends her days happily getting into scrapes with the other local children until one day the impossibly cool Anita enters her life. Suddenly Meena knows exactly who she wants to be but is Anita all that she seems? Soon Meena’s world is turned upside down as she is caught between two very different cultures. Anita and Me paints a comic, poignant, compassionate and colorful portrait of village life in the era of flares, power cuts, glam rock, decimalization and Ted Heath. It has been adapted for the stage by the multi-award-winning Tanika Gupta.
Tanika Gupta has written for theatre, radio, film and television. Aside from the works published by Oberon , her stage plays include Voices On The Wind (NT Studio), Skeleton (Soho Theatre), On The Couch With Enoch (Red Room - BAC) and The Waiting Room (NT) which won the John Whiting Award. She has also translated Brecht's The Good Woman of Setzuan for the National Theatre Education Touring and written plays for Theatre Royal Stratford East's Young Actor's Company Brood and Squid . Tanika is an Honorary Fellow at Rose Bruford College and was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2008 for Services to Drama.