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Paul Willcocks in A Passage To India

Paul Willcocks has received excellent reviews for A Passage To India at the Tower Theatre, running until 15th February.

This brilliantly supple, layered and impressionistic adaptation of E.M. Forster’s 1924 classic about British colonialism in India, was written in 2002 for the theatre company Shared Experience. Forster’s novel was a study in the emotional and spiritual gulf between the British colonials and their Indian subjects. Moreover, it explores how tragically the arrogance, hypocrisy and insular philistinism of British colonials thwarted any attempts at a genuine understanding and connection across cultures. A theme that resonates painfully now in 2019 Britain – A Passage to India invites us to think critically about our relationship with the world and our relationship to ourselves.

Adela Quested has accompanied her fiancé’s mother, Mrs Moore, on a trip to Chandrapore, India, in order to become better acquainted with her son, the local magistrate, Ronny Heaslop, before committing to marrying him. While there, both Adela and Mrs Moore are frustrated in their desire to see the “real India”, discovering the British community to be insular and barricaded against any real contact with the “natives”. Mr Fielding, who teaches at the college, proves the exception to the rule and introduces Adela to the lively and enthusiastic Dr Aziz, who suggests an outing to the Marabar caves, after which fateful day, all their lives change irrevocably.

Martin Sherman’s text elegantly weaves back and forth in time and place, skilfully delivering this rich and complex story through an imagistic theatrical language, rich with symbols, in which the real and imagined often collapse into each other and nothing is quite as it seems.