Theatre review: The Road I Chose, The New Bradford Playhouse
‘The Road I Chose’ is a fresh production directed by a year 10 student named Kaif Hussain that highlights the troubles that many youngsters face.
Based on real-life events, the play tells the tale of two best friends, Aadam (Kaif Hussain) and Aryan (Esa Ashraf), who slowly drift apart.
Aryan has a troubled life at home and his mother (Elina Naz Hussain) pushes him away after he comes home with a well-earned achievement from school.
Aryan says “I don’t want to be like those scumbags [gangsters] on the street”. But that soon falls apart when he gets caught up with the local “badmen’s” Hassan (Azaan Mahmood) and Asim (Niyyal Manir).
Aadam is worried and shares his thoughts with his friend Katie (Chloe Smith) as Aryan is busy coughing on his first drag.
So without spoiling too much of the story, there were many funny moments in the play. It had hints of satire that poked fun of wannabe gangster lingo and even had the stereotypical father who expected his son to become a doctor.
But in seriousness, the show did what it set out to do, and that was to portray issues that are facing young people in society, particularly with young South Asian males in the words of the director. Such themes included peer pressure, drugs, and gangs.
And what gave it value was that it this production was made by, and played by, the youth.
I couldn’t believe it when I was told that only year 10 student Kaif had experience in acting, which meant that everyone else in the young cast (around 12 in number) were doing their first-ever performance.
And in all honesty, they performed exceptionally, forgetting the few smiles that were cracked in what was supposed to be a serious situation.
But unlike many long-running theatre groups, who take even months to perform, ‘The Road I Chose’ was directed by a teen, rehearsed in less time and was still exciting to watch thanks to its story.
It wasn’t filled with glitz, glamour and cheesy songs. Rather it focussed on the plot and gave everyone food for thought in each scene.
Would Aryan be in the same situation if his mum didn’t push him away? Could Aadam have done more for Aryan to stop him going down the wrong path sooner?
Now I was intentionally careful to not give the ending away, because the play may well be making a grand return in August. And I think it should, because myself, and the audience, loved it.