MERCHANT of Vembley is a fiery and wickedly funny US hit based on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that is attracting rave reviews.

Re-imagined and re-written in iambic pentameter, it is set in contemporary Wembley in the South Asian community, with Hindu and Muslim characters instead of the original Christians and Jews.

The characters are a combination of immigrants who have settled in London and their second generation children who are faced with many challenges assimilating in their own home country while struggling to please and appease their parents.

This is an experience actor Vijay Doshi can relate to very well as he grew up in the Wembley/ Harrow area, attending John Lyon school. This is his first professional stage role and he shares the stage with experienced actors such as Emilio Doorgasingh (EastEnders, Game of Thrones, and the National Theatre's highly-acclaimed Dara).

Merchant of Vembley is written by Shishir Kurup who flew over from Los Angeles for the show's first night, and directed by London-based Ajay Chowdhury, a tech entrepreneur and former CEO of ticket agency Seatwave. Ajay took a month off his current day job to indulge in his first love, directing, with help from his wife Angelina Melwani, a local businesswoman and writer.

Angela says: "In Merchant of Vembley Shishir Kurup has taken one of Shakespeare’s most difficult plays, opened it up completely and made it relevant to today in so many ways. I think it makes everyone look inward and question their own prejudices, especially in today’s current social and political climate. It is gritty, intelligent, funny and gripping in equal measure - and there’s a love story too."

Merchant of Vembley is on at the Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, Marylebone until Sunday, October 25. Details:

020 7258 2925, or visit or