Guards at the Taj

Bush Theatre

Guards at the Taj

07 Apr 2017 - 20 May 2017

£18.00 - £18.00

Pro reviewers rating
12 reviews

3.4 out of 5.0
Peer reviewers rating
1 reviews

3.0 out of 5.0

If we hadn’t done our jobs tonight, we’d be hanging by our necks in the royal courtyard getting our eyes pecked out by the royal crows. So excuse me if I don’t wallow in some misbegotten guilt all night. Was it fucked up? Yes, it was. But I don’t have to feel terrible about it.

It’s 1648. Agra, India. Imperial guards and best mates Humayun and Babur keep watch as the final touches are put to the mighty Tajmahal behind them. The emperor has decreed that no one, except the masons, labourers and slaves who exist within those walls, shall turn to look at the building until it is complete.

Now, as the building nears completion and the first light catches on the pure white domes behind them, the temptation to steal a glance at the most beautiful monument the world has ever seen grows stronger. But beauty has a price and Humayun and Babur are about to learn its true cost.

European Premiere of this wickedly funny play which won  the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play 2016.


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“Short, dense, resonant... Striking... Moments of genuinely gut-wrenching horror... Very naturalistic, very British performances”

Andrzej Lukowski (Time Out)

“While Ashok and Kuppan play it with deft street-geek charm, Gilmour's blood-encrusted design makes all its awfulness count.”

Matt Trueman (What's On Stage, Time Out)

“A touching portrait of friendship... Potent staging... grim at points, but balances horror with humour and dark with light.”

Sarah Hemming (Financial Times)

“Both performances have charm and a certain mischief, with a fine sense of the characters’ chemistry.”

Henry Hitchings (Evening Standard)

“Joseph's excellent play seizes on some potent philosophical issues and gives them a terrific comic snap... Both superb.”

Paul Taylor (The Independent)

“Lloyd shows uncharacteristic restraint... Bracing... Beautifully composed and stunningly well performed... A fine piece of work.”

Neil Norman (Express, The Stage)

“Revived in a taut production... raises some interesting ideas... Clarity and neatness of exposition and construction.”

Aleks Sierz (Arts Desk, The Stage)

“A darkly amusingly and unexpectedly philosophical blood-spattered two-hander.”

Natasha Tripney (The Stage, Time Out)

“The portrait of the capricious arbitrariness of absolute power is fascinating... Given expressive life in Jamie Lloyd’s product.”

Michael Billington (The Guardian)

“Mildly entertaining, mildly enlightening... Flying the flag, with its bromantic banter, for the forgotten underlings.”

Dominic Cavendish (The Telegraph)

“Ashok & Kuppan: dutiful, skittish, engaging... Unforgettable design... A coruscating image with an argument attached.”

Susannah Clapp (The Observer)

“Contrived banter... Lloyd ensures a cheerfully competent staging to help us stomach the horror.”

Patrick Marmion (Time Out, Daily Mail)

Reviews (0)