The National Theatre played host to a celebrity-packed audience to showcase a new stage play - ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ which stars Meera Syal.

The latest production from the National Theatre, the play tells a gripping tale of poverty and global ambition in the Mumbai under-city.

Following the lives of the slum-dwellers of Annawadi, one of Mumbai’s most impoverished, ramshackle slums, the play captures the humanity of an underclass fighting to survive the violence, greed and corruption of the rapidly changing world around them.

The Theatre opened its doors to stars of the screen and stage including; James Bond star Kabir Bedi, Eastenders stars Nitin Ganatra, Himesh Patel and Rakhee Thakrar, Seema Pathan of The Wright Stuff, BBC presenters Yasmin Khan and Naga Munchetty and actors Kulvinder Ghir, Shivani Ghai and Valmike Rampersand.

Audience member Yasmeen Khan said, “I thought the production deftly brought together the potent cocktail of poverty, power and corruption in the slums. It was epic in its storytelling range; each character’s journey felt poignant and necessary. Loved the set and sound. And it was great to see so much talent on the stage.”

Seema Pathan added, “I thought that the play it was absolutely incredible and powerful. It was so emotional and really takes you on a journey with the characters. The acting was out of this world – I’ve never seen anything like it before!”

Directed by Rufus Norris and written by David Hare, the play, which combines gritty reality with dark humour and a punchy soundtrack, is based on the original award-winning book by Katherine Boo and stars Meera Syal.

The new production is running at the National Theatre from 19th November, and is currently booking until 13th April. Part of the Travelex £15 Tickets season, half the tickets for every performance are £15.