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Made In India Britain | Soho Theatre

A story. A stage. A spotlight. And a chair. Sometimes that is all it takes to bring an audience to tears.

In this brilliant biographical show, Rinkoo Barpaga tells the story of a deaf Punjabi boy in Birmingham, who is determined to find a place to call “home.” As he struggles to find his community, Rinkoo encounters the atrocious backlash of deep-seated racism as he traverses countless traumatic experiences on his journey.

Barpaga’s story was delivered through BSL (British Sign Language) and interpreted by Mathias André. Both performers worked together to produce a beautiful, almost melodic string of narratives from past experiences - despite delving into dark themes such as depression, drugs, racism and gun violence. However, even in the dark passages, Barpaga finds a way to deliver his story with such light-heartedness that it brings to light his passion for the fight that he so clearly leads against prejudice. Their delivery of such a poignant story was so fluid - and at times comical - that it felt completely immersive. 

As a hearing person, this was the first time that I had ever heard a story told from the point of view of someone who had not been given a gift we so often take for granted. It felt genuinely humbling to hear such a poignant and candid perspective on life. But more than that, Barpaga has brought to light some of the problems that this generation still faces and how to make the world more accessible. You would think that in this day and age, lack of recognition and action for something as crucial as the ability to hear would be a thing of the past. In some ways it is, but there is so much more good that can be done.

Overall I have found this experience to be entirely transformative. Through a seemingly minimalistic one-hour production, Barpaga has sought and succeeded in bridging a divide which has been deeply entrenched within this prejudiced world we live in. I cannot praise this show enough and cannot wait to see where Barpaga’s clear passion takes him.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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