Katherine Boo’s National Book Award-winning Mumbai-set novel Behind The Beautiful Forevers arrvies on stage in an adaptation by acclaimed playwright David Hare.

India is surging with global ambition. But beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport lies a makeshift slum, full of people with plans of their own.

Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house. Sunil, 12 and stunted, wants to eat until he’s as tall as Kalu the thief. Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a ‘first-class person’, while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum’s first female graduate.

But their schemes are fragile; global recession threatens the garbage trade, and another slum-dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood.

Boo spent three years in Annawadi recording the lives of its residents. From her uncompromising book Hare (Skylight, Racing Demon, Gethsemane, The Vertical Hour) has fashioned a tumultuous play on an epic scale.

Behind The Beautiful Forevers is led by The Kumars star Meera Syal. The actor’s previous stage credits include If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep at the Royal Court and the RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Noël Coward Theatre.

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