Our White Skoda Octavia is a clever and heartfelt story about family relationships and life; told with truth, humour and tabala rhythm.
We meet four main characters within the Afridis family; father Amjad (Tiran Aakel), mother Rabia (Freny Nina Pavri), son Faisal (Ali Arshad) and daughter Yasmin (Gurjot Dhaliwal). They are Pakastani Muslim family, each at a different point in their life, with their own internal challenges that they are trying to navigate.
The play takes a look into their world, which feels representative of many families, as it’s ultimately a story about the beauty, flaws and complexity of ordinary people and the day-to-day struggles many of us face; though with the added detail of their South Asian heritage.
It’s unique in that its not a stereotypical tale about the culture with any mention of terrorism or arranged marriage, it’s just a tale about life that highlights the South Asian experience, but resonates with people from any background.
In this case, we meet a working-class family who are working in the Taxi Cab driving business in the East of England, and area where rates are amongst the lowest in the country, making it difficult to stay afloat and earn much profit.
I really enjoyed seeing an insight into a world I ashamedly knew little about, both in terms of their Pakastani Muslim heritage and the reality of the Taxi Cab business. I’m a firm believer in diversifying our shows and casts, and hearing stories from a wide range of backgrounds. Representation of the world we live in is crucial, and sadly this community are under represented in mainstream media of stage and screen, so this showcases what is possible when given people the space to share their narrative.
However, whilst I did engage with the story and characters, I felt in parts that the piece was a little too long, with the pace being slow in parts and the narrative dragging at times. This results in making the final acts feel weaker compared to the grippingness of act one.
The cast were excellent within their respective roles, particularly when they begin to build up all the ensemble characters and complete transform. Many deliver tough scenes with high intensity and emotion. The set and details within it are cleverly crafted, and I am always in awe of what can be achieved in a small space.
It was a really interesting story, and one I felt glad to experience. There are moments within the piece that everyone can connect to at some point in their lives, and it reminds us how we are all connected and not that different. We’re all extraordinarily ordinary and special in our own ways.
See Our White Skoda Octavia on tour, for more information or to book visit: easternangles.co.uk.