“THEY think I’m mad, but I think it’s them who are mad, ” explains The Kumars At No 42 star Indira Joshi about the role that brings her to Harrogate Theatre this week.

She’s among the cast of The House of Bilquis Bibi, Tamasha theatre company’s interpretation of Federick Garcia Lorca’s 1936 play The House of Bernarda Alba, which moves the location to Pakistan’s fertile Punjab region.

It tells of a domineering mother and how her obsession with upholding the family’s status affects the fate of her five unmarried daughters.

Joshi is part of an all-female cast of nine, which also includes Indian star Ila Arun, soon to be seen on British cinema screens in West Is West, the sequel to the hit play and film East Is East.

Tamasha visited Harrogate last year in a version of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights set in late 18th Century Rajastan.

Joshi, whose TV work includes Coronation Street and Grumpy Old Women, as well as the Kumars, was only too pleased to take the role in Tamasha’s 21st anniversary production as she’s a big fan of Lorca’s work.

“I like Lorca because his plays are full of passion. He was shot by the fascist state in 1936. He was a young man who felt passionate about what he believed, ” she says.

“I’ve not done The House Of Bernarda Alba, but have done his plays Yerma and Blood Wedding. This production has stuck to the original, apart from the setting.”

She’s playing a senile old woman, Mehroonisa, who “is like a seer – she sees the disaster that’s coming”.

What Joshi couldn’t forsee was the fire alarm that sounded during the performance in Coventry the night before we spoke. “I was waiting in the wings for my cue and suddenly saw all the actors come off stage. We had to evacuate the theatre, although it was a false alarm, ” she says.

Lorca and Tamasha, a company with whom she’s acted before, were the attractions for joining this touring production. “I wouldn’t do something I didn’t believe in, ” she says.

“What I’d die for is film. It’s very difficult to get them
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