Culture Club visited the National Theatre this month to see the hard-hitting, dramatic play Behind the Beautiful Forevers.


Originally a novel by Katherine Boo, the play follows the story of a slum in Mumbai, just behind Mumbai Airport, and the everyday dramas of the slum's denizens: bribery, suicide, corruption, gangs and hatred. This incredible play depicts a truly jarring insight into slum life in India, as unthinkable scenarios for what is widely considered a 'developed' nation unfold before the eyes of the audience. Perhaps the point where it hits home the greatest is when a flood of plastic bottles descends from the ceiling onto the stage, to the delight of the slum dwellers, clearly displaying the poverty they live in.

The corruption that permeates Mumbai society is also incredibly shocking, and the huge contrast between the entertaining, light-hearted soliloquising, and the shocking deaths of a disturbingly high number of the lead characters makes for powerful viewing. We were all left with a lot to think about, and are still reeling emotionally from the shock factor of some of the things we saw on stage.