My Beautiful Laundrette

“Oooh… I am angry today!”

Jonny Fines appeared in the Autumn 2019 UK tour of My Beautiful Laundrette which began in September.

Jonny Fines and Omar Malik in My Beautiful Laundrette

My Beautiful Laundrette was originally a 1985 made-for-TV film produced by what was at the time the recently created television broadcaster Channel 4. Set in London, the film ambitiously presented a hugely complex set of relationships between many multiple cultures, communities and philosophies, and dealt with political upheaval, nationalism, capitalism, unemployment, drug dealing and frequent racist attacks.

Now thirty-four years later, that ground-breaking film has now been transferred to the stage by the original film script writer Hanif Kureishi asking if attitudes and society has changed since then. Furthermore, in an interesting, completely unexpected but very satisfying and fitting piece of casting, Gordon Warnecke who, in what was his first filming assignment playing the young Omar in the 1985 film, has returned to the world of My Beautiful Laundrette and now plays the character of Omar’s father instead.

Jonny Fines and Gordon Warnecke in My Beautiful Laundrette
“In Johnny, Foster has nurtured a superb redefinition of the Day-Lewis character from the film, thanks to the rather brilliant Jonny Fines. Fines balances the easily-led thuggishness of the young bully with a beautifully delicate emergent soft side, unafraid to scream, brawl or weep whenever the emotion overtakes him. It’s a precision-tooled performance that anchors the whole show and is shot through with a twinkle-eyed charm that’s irresistible.”
Michael Davies, WhatsOnStage.com
https://www.whatsonstage.com/leicester-theatre/reviews/my-beautiful-laundrette-curve_49960.html

True to the original vision of the film, the live theatre show explores the unlikely relationship that develops between far-right activist Johnny and up-and-coming British-Pakistani businessman, Omah, played by Omah Malik.

Building upon that, and responsible for emphasizing the 80’s look-and-feel environment within which the story takes place, the Pet Shop Boys Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have composed multiple pieces of interstitial music used throughout each performance. Speaking of their involvement with the project, they said “It’s wonderful to be part of the team bringing My Beautiful Laundrette from the screen to the stage and we’ve enjoyed writing mainly instrumental music to be presented within a British Asian context.”

“One of the joys of the play is the slowly simmering relationship between Omar and Johnny as they tentatively, and often comically, test the water to work out if their sexual attraction is mutual. Jonny Fines is a mercurial, muscular presence as Johnny, bursting with barely contained energy.”
Mark Ludmon, BritishTheatre.com
https://britishtheatre.com/review-my-beautiful-laundrette-curve-leicester/

Shortly after work on this project got underway, the team behind the production published the following behind-the-scenes promotional material:

“Jonny Fines (another namesake casting) galvanises: witty, gentle and loping – with Malcolm McDowell Catherine wheel eyes.”
Susannah Clapp, The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2019/sep/29/glass-kill-bluebeard-imp-caryl-churchill-royal-court-review-my-beautiful-laundrette-curve-leicester