2 Billion Beats Orange Tree Theatre 23rd January 2023 ©The Other Richard

Asha’s political education in this gripping coming-of-age story is based on the writings of Sylvia Pankhurst and Ambedkar. The ideals from the past are brought into the present in Sonali Bhattacharyya’s play, which was first presented as a part of the Orange Tree’s Inside/Outside webcast during lockdown. There is a lot to put in, especially with Asha striving to show that even the history we hold sacred has multiple sides. Even though the play’s conclusion leaves some of these concepts unfinished, it still feels timely.

Asha shifts from discussing her private views on racism and society to having a casual conversation with her sister at the bus stop, helped by the striking lighting design by Alex Fernandes, which abruptly changes from cold daylight tones to warm hues.

Bettina, the younger of the two, is kind and has dewy eyes. She constantly looks to Asha for direction. Anoushka Chadha portrays her with sincerity as she waits around to be near her sister, innocence bouncing out of her.

This jam-packed two-hander has heart because of the sisters’ friendship. Their inherent diversity enriches their friendship as they work together to discover a method to keep Bettina safe from bullies who steal her birthday money on the school bus. It warms your heart with sisterly love as they perform a complex dance routine to commemorate their accomplishments.

The play, which Nimmo Ismail directed, captures the gentle unpredictability of sibling love in its simplest form and is full of heart-warming moments.

Definitely recommend to viewing this fantastic production at the Orange Tree theatre in London, till 4th February.