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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 Fatherhood 

📍 The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Thursday 22nd March 2024



This week on the stage at The Drum, a 200 seat auditorium at Theatre Royal Plymouth, something quite spectacular is happening. Shane Shambhu has brought his one man show to Plymouth, which is it's final stop on the current tour.

Fatherhood follows three different stories and the play cleverly and seamlessly weaves it's way back and forth between them. Each of them depict different fatherhood experiences.

They always say to write about what you know and Shambhu is himself the father of a young son. As a British Indian the play looks at the culture of Indian parentage and features themes of migration from India as well as Singapore and Turkey.

The piece is very physical and I was hooked from the very abstract beginning, right up until the end. The mixture of movement and speech was actually incredible and the play felt fresh, new and innovitive.

I discovered that the movement came from an Indian style of performance called Bharatanatyam. I found the way in which this helped to project and move the story along utterly compelling, and Shambhu is obviously highly skilled in this art form.

My favourite of the characters was the first we met. From his opening "Welcome to my mess" he is utterly likeable and engaging. By far the most modern of all the fathers featured, he is perhaps the most relatable. I really enjoyed watching not only his interactions with his son, but with his own father and his father-in-law.

Something else about this production which seems pioneering is that all of the characters stories are presented in very different ways. The first talks directly to the audience and engages with them, even getting one patron to juggle with him!

There's also a deaf character and his story is told by a voiceover from his daughter with the third being a more traditional straight acting role.

There were also intergrated captions at the back of the stage. These were done in an interesting way and were definitely not just words on a screen. They moved around when appropriate and featured in the language which was being spoken at the time, so we had captions in languages such as Malayalam which was really interesting.

When the speech on stage was muffled, the captions appeared hazy - just really showing the creativity and attention to detail that goes into an Altered Skin production.

The performance ran for approximately 75 minutes but was so fast-paced and interesting that it was a surprise when it had finished as it didn't feel like I'd been sat watching it for very long. This is a real testament to how engaging the performance was.

Shambhu himself is a highly accomplished performer and there was an utter believability about him throughout which never wavered. He gave an absolute masterclass in multi-rolling which was a pleasure to witness.

At the core of this show is three very different but equally brilliant stories. It's easy to follow and is funny but also very real, giving it perfect balance.

Fatherhood has its final performances at Theatre Royal Plymouth today. Click here to grab yourself a last minute ticket before it's too late.

I will definitely be looking out for future productions from Altered Skin. There is something very exciting about this theatre company and I can't wait to see what they do next.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.

My ticket for this performance of Fatherhood was gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.


Conceived, created and performed by Shane Shambhu

Dramaturgy: Amit Sharma and Anna Himali Howard

Creative Consultancy: Rinkoo Barpaga

Sound Design: Gerry Smith

Lighting Design: James Mackenzie

Projection Design: Mark Morreau

Script Consultant: Arzhang Pehzman

Additional Voices: Alex Kapila and Sophie Lynch

Costume Advisor: Kay Wilton

Object Manipulation: Michael Crouch

Photography: Graeme Braidwood

Producer: SJ Watkinson

RUN TIME (approx):

1 hour 15 minutes, with no interval

The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country. Their mission is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue offers three performance spaces of various sizes, the largest being The Lyric which accommodates the big touring productions. The Drum and The Lab are smaller, intimate spaces and often offer pioneering productions.


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