Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette takes centre stage in Liverpool 

Based on Hanif Kureishi’s Oscar-nominated screenplay, My Beautiful Laundrette stars Gordon Warnecke, who originally played Omar in the 1985 movie.

Featuring original music composed by the Pet Shop Boys, this stage production is directed by Nicole Behan, Co-Artistic Director of Liverpool-based company Paperwork Theatre (Deep Blue at the Everyman). My Beautiful Laundrette is at the Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday 26, to Saturday, 30 March.

Set in South London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Laundrette was nominated for Best New Play and Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2020. The play tells the story of young British Pakistani, Omar, who transforms his uncle’s run-down laundrette into a thriving business.

Gordon Warnecke, who played Omar in Stephen Frear’s Oscar-nominated 1985 film of the same name, returns to the stage as Omar’s wise but world-weary Papa. Omar is played by Lucca Chadwick-Patel (Millennials, The Other Palace), while Sam Mitchell (To Kill a Mockingbird, Gielgud Theatre) is Omar’s fascist former school friend, Johnny.

Hareet Deol (Salim)

My Beautiful Laundrette was originally staged as a world premiere at Leicester’s Curve theatre in 2019, directed by Nikolai Foster (Kes, Liverpool Playhouse; The Witches, Liverpool Everyman). The 2024 tour sees the return of Kammy Darweish (Linck & Mulhahn, Hampstead Theatre) as Omar’s enterprising Thatcherite uncle Nasser; Paddy Daly (New Blood, BBC One) as right-wing thug Genghis and Hareet Deol (Ackley Bridge, Channel 4) reprises his WhatsOnStage Award nominated performance as Salim, Nasser’s right-hand man.

(L-R) Lucca Chadwick-Patel (Omar) and Sam Mitchell (Johnny)

Gordon Warnecke, who plays Omar’s papa, said, “There are many elements within Hanif’s story that will resonate with all ages who come to see the play. The desire to ‘better’ oneself, family issues and an endearing love story. I would say that My Beautiful Laundrette is timeless. Even though it was written almost 40 years ago, and issues that existed then still surface now in one way or another, but Hanif’s script covers these in an informative and entertaining way.”

(L-R) Gordon Warnecke (Papa) and Sam Mitchell (Johnny)

This 2024 tour is directed by Liverpool-born and based director Nicole Behan (Deep Blue, Liverpool Everyman; Stocking Fillers, Royal Court, Liverpool), who has worked with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatre in a freelance capacity since 2013. Nicole primarily collaborates with the Young Everyman Playhouse (Soapbox, Crowd and Until They Kick Us Out). This year, she will be delivering the YEP Directors programme.

Completing the company are Emma Bown (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Duke of York’s Theatre), playing the roles of Nasser’s lover, Rachel, and skinhead, Moose; and Sharan Phull (Pink Sari Revolution, The Importance of Being Earnest, Scrooge the Musical, all at Curve) as Nasser’s daughter, Tania.

The production features original music composed by the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, set and costume design by Grace Smart, lighting by Curve Associate Ben Cracknell and sound design by Tom Marshall.

This tour of My Beautiful Laundrette was developed with the support of the National Theatre’s Generate programme and is a Theatre Nation Partnership production, produced by Curve.

Lead image: (L-R) Sharan Phull (Tania), Emma Bown (Rachel and Moose), Sam Mitchell (Johnny), Lucca Chadwick-Patel (Omar), Paddy Daly (Genghis) and Hareet Deol (Salim)

All Photography by Ellie Kurttz

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