The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - UK Tour Review

 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a story based on a book by Deborah Moggach which was subsequently turned into a film. It's a story that has won over the hearts of many audiences, and is now taking to the stage to capture the hearts of even more. Whilst currently on a UK Tour, the show is travelling up and down the country before it lands in the West End. 


The show follows the story of a group of retirees who decide to take up residence in India rather than a residential facility closer to home. After being promised a life of sunshine and luxury, they are greeted with a slightly shabby and run-down hotel owned by mother and son duo Mrs Kapoor and Sonny. Whilst still reeling in their own grief from the death of the patriarch, they must manage running the hotel and keeping these pensioners happy in their last years. 

The story is a reminder that growing old doesn't have to be a journey that is boring and cliche. It's a reminder that despite your age, nothing should hold you back. I adored watching each of the characters learn and grow throughout the play and allow the country they they have taken up residency to allow them to flourish and shine. From Muriel who had never stepped outside of the streets of Tooting, to Madge who wants to find herself a rich Indian husband. Each character is on a completed different journey. It's a reminder to those in the audience to take risks, enjoy life, and embrace the unknown and things you love. 

As the story unfolds, you see how dynamics shift. How the blend of British and Indian cultures help shape this hotel into a wonderful bubble of harmony. You watch the dynamics of Sonny and his mother as they clash over his future, and his subsequent relationship with Sahani, a local girl. You watch Evelyn as she realises that she can thrive and find happiness by helping those that work in a local call centre. And you watch Jean and Douglas, the couple that seem to have the most perfect life on the surface, slowly bare their difficulties throughout the show. 

The casting is superb. With theatre veterans taking to the stage, including Belinda Lang as Madge and Paul Nicholas as Douglas. I was won over by Tessa Peake-Jones as Evelyn. Her presence on stage just warmed the soul and her characters journey was a true joy to watch unfold on stage. I absolutely adored Rekha John-Cheriyan who played Mrs Kapoor. Her performance as the truly overbearing Indian mother who was both grieving the loss of her husband and the potential loss of her children as they grow older was truly wonderful to watch.

The staging was a marvellous static set that was full of hidden treasures and truly allowed the heart of the play to shine. With the dilapidated hotel seemingly crumbling around them, you could easily lose yourself in marvelling at the details in the set. Whilst not a musical, this show was laced with wonderful Indian music that brings soul and depth to the show and allows the cast to finish the performance with a brilliant traditional dance show for the audience. 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a collision of cultures, a love letter to growing old, and a reminder that finding your happiness isn't just limited to the younger years. It was truly lovely to see this play as a (slightly) younger audience member and I felt truly touched by some of the stories that unfolded on stage. It's a joyous comedy that leaves you with that feel good feeling and a smile on your face when you leave the theatre. 

Running at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 27th May 2023 before continuing on a UK Tour, you can find more information here:

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tickets - Mayflower Theatre

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - UK Tour

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