Neil D’Souza’s Coming Up to premiere at Watford Palace Theatre

Coming Up

This October Watford Palace Theatre will be producing Coming Up, Neil D’Souza’s evocative, playful and magical new play about family ties.

The play was commissioned by WPT and will be directed by its artistic director Brigid Larmour.

Coming Up tells the story of Alan, who returns to Mumbai on business after more than 30 years. Between meetings and expense account dinners, he visits the aunt and cousin he used to know, and makes an unexpected discovery.

The play is one man’s odyssey in search of his father and ultimately, himself, against the backdrop of a changing world, where old power structures are shifting, and a once third world country is beginning to stand tall.

Said Brigid: “Like everything we do at Watford Palace it is an original piece, seeking to reflect the diversity and complexity of our identities in contemporary Britain.

“It is an ensemble storytelling piece, marrying text-based new writing with physical theatre – part of an ongoing collaboration with movement director Shona Morris, a WPT creative associate.

“Five actors will transform into a rich range of characters – from vicars to seven-year-olds to aunties to tigers – on a magical journey between present day Mumbai and a Mangalore village in the 1940s, from upscale restaurants to a lonely clearing in the jungle.”

Neil D’Souza added: “In Coming Up I wanted to explore my own complex relationship with India – a country I am bonded to by blood, yet with which, like many British Asians, I have had a distant, somewhat fractured connection with over the years.

“The play itself partly grew out of its title – as, growing up, I would often hear Indians visiting us, say ’India is coming up’.

“Today you see it in the hyper-modern airports, the hyper-chic shopping malls, and in the expectations of its people sniffing prosperity on the wind.

“I also wanted to write about the Indian Catholics – a small, yet significant minority in India whose stories remain largely untold.

“I hope that by using five actors to portray more than 25 diverse, sometimes fantastical, characters, we can borrow the ‘magic of theatre’ to bring some of the ’magic of India’ on stage.”

Coming Up will be actor, playwright and comedian Neil D’Souza’s follow-up play to his acclaimed debut Small Miracle which opened at the Mercury Theatre and subsequently transferred to the Tricycle Theatre.

Other commissions include a series for Granada and a sitcom for the BBC. As an actor his theatre credits include How to Hold Your Breath and Khandan (Royal Court), Much Ado About Nothing and Midnight’s Children (Royal Shakespeare Company), Drawing the Line (Hampstead Theatre), The Man of Mode (National Theatre) and Tintin (Watford Palace Theatre/West End).

Coming Up will run at Watford Palace Theatre from October 10-24.

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