Bringing childhood memories to life

Tanika Gupta and Meera Syal
Tanika Gupta and Meera Syal

The stage adaptation of Anita and Me, based on the award-winning Meera Syal book of the same name, is at The Grand Theatre until Saturday.

It stars former Coronation Street actor Shobna Gulati as Daljit and Meera couldn’t be happier with the casting.

Shobna Gulati

Shobna Gulati

She said: “I think she’ll bring huge authority and feeling. It’s helpful if you’re a mother to play that part because she’s so much the epitome of a mother.

“Shobna’s such a well-loved actress and has such a massive following so I’m sure she’ll bring an awful lot of fans into theatres as well, which is fantastic.”

Joining Shobna on stage will be Laura Aramayo as Anita, Sam Cole as Sam Lowbridge, Therese Collins as Mrs Worrall, and Rina Fatania as Namina.

Semi-autobiographical, Anita and Me tells the story of a young British Punjabi girl and her relationship with her English neighbour Anita as they grow up in the fictional Midlands village of Tollington in the 1970s.

A lot of the emotions are very much mine from memory

Meera explained just how much of the story and the British Punjabi girl Meena was true to her own life.

She added: “A lot of the emotions are very much mine from memory. A lot of how Meena feels about herself and her family is stuff I felt as a kid and there was a girl in the village I absolutely hero worshipped, although she wasn’t half as bad as Anita.

“But a lot of the events didn’t actually happen. I embroidered the truth but the setting is very accurate to where I grew up and the emotions are very accurate, but I took a bit of poetic licence because my life wasn’t that interesting.”

Tickets are priced from £19.50. To book, visit blackpoolgrand.co.uk or call the box office on 01253 290190.