Going out: Indian epic

7th February 2003 at 00:00

How do you put Salman Rushdie's sprawling, comic but serious, satirical but fantastical, personal and historic account of India's independence and the bloody founding of Pakistan and Bangladesh on stage? Tim Supple's production of Midnight's Children for the RSC, using an adaptation by the author, dramaturge Simon Reade and Supple himself, fills the stage with colour, incident, eccentric
characters, old newsreel film, fantasy videos, sex, death and magic.

Sometimes the mixture is so rich that it is difficult to follow the various narrative lines - blink and there's been a massacre or a marriage has come and gone - but Zubin Varla, as Saleem, the big-nosed hero, manages to sustain his mercurial character throughout, scarcely leaving the stage in more than three hours. The programme provides helpful timelines and family trees.

At the Barbican in London (020 7638 8891), then, from April 15 - after visiting Michigan and New York - in Aberdeen, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bath, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Salford Quays and Glasgow. RSC ticket hotline: 0870 609 1110. Information: www.midnightschildren.com .

To read more reviews see this week's Friday magazine.

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