Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Play Review: Play it Hot by Akshara Theatre

This play is based on a concept which we have seen in movies like 'Some like it Hot' starring Marilyn Monroe and Rafoo chakkar (starring Rsihi Kapoor)  - couple of cross-dressing musicians on the run trying to save their lives.

The play opens with a radio conversation between the senior police official and the raiding party (voice overs). It then switches to a small cafe where an out of luck band is hanging out. They have no money to pay for their coffee let alone pay their rent. Suddenly they get embroiled in a gun fight between two gangs and become a witness to it. To escape the goons and the police they disguise themselves as 'Rapchik Rockers' - all girl band. They take up a gig in Goa which will provide them the much required money and a nice holiday. What happens next is a series of lies, deception, flirting and love trials. 

This play is a pure entertainer. The range of characters and their antics make this play a light hearted comedy. Be it the beautiful gold digging lead singer Sweety, the bubbly but strict Shruti Ma'am who breaks into a dance sequence at drop of a musical note, creepily flirtatious Thakur Raj Singh or pretentious Jijo managing two identities - every character has its quirks which audience loved. The guys get a taste of what it is to be pursued by men high on libido.The songs are absolute treat to the ears sung by very melodious Nisa Shetty in the role of Sweety and Vipin as the chotu turned Asst Manager. Jaya as Shritu Ma'am lets her hair lose along with the rest of the crew and you clap on. There is even a shayari competition between two warring gangs which ends in an anti-climax.

The cozy setting of Akshara is just a cherry on top for this entertaining play. This might not be a contender for any awards but is not meant to be. It is meant to send you back home refreshed and happy and it will not disappoint you.

Do check it out at Akshara Theatre on September 21 and 22.

About the Play:
Director: Anasuya Vaidya
Play By: Akshara TheatreCast: 

Vipin Heero

Nisa Shetty

Shaily Priya


Chhotu/ Asst. Manager
Vipin Heero
Jijo/ Jia
Angad Thakur
Jaani/ Jenelle
Dhruv Shetty
Saxy/ Chitrangada
Mahant Shah
Kaalia Flunkeys
Shaily Proya Pandey

Yashna Shetty

S. Gayathri
R.K. Peter
Sidekick/  Bellboy
Ankur Anand
Nisa Shetty
Thakur Raj Singh
Vikalp Mudgal
Shruti Ma’am
Voice Overs
Ajay Shetty

Rocky Grover

Lights: Anusuya Vaidya
Sound: Harendra Bhandana

Friday, September 13, 2013

Play Review: Curious Case of Mr Kolpert

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.
Soren Kierkegaard

Does boredom lead people to do crazy things? To what extent will people go to kill their boredom? Kill? It has been while since I have seen a black comedy. While I do enjoy a light, simple comedy after a hectic week at work, sometimes one needs to get out of comfort zone. As much as I enjoy movies like “There is something about Mary”, comes a Pulp fiction which throws every rule in the book out of the door.  If this play is a bench mark, Ishwar Shunya is to theatre what Quentin Tarantino is to movies. As soon as the play opens with focus on Ralf Shroff (played by Adhiraj Katoch), we knew this is going to be one unsettling play. A couple has invited another couple for dinner. Sounds simple, right? What if the couples were Vincent Vega/ Catherine Tarnell and Jules Winnfield/ Mia Wallace. If these names elude you, Google “Basic Instinct” and “Pulp Fiction” – just make sure no kids are around when you do that. Ralf is a chaos researcher who creates a chaotic situation by informing the invited couple that they have killed Mr Kolpert and have put his body in the trunk. This does not go well with physically violent Joy Bastian (Tushar Dhaudiyal) and he is curious. Where is the knocking sound coming from? Is it the trunk? At the same time his wife Edith (Kriti Vij) is unperturbed. She would rather snort rather than be sore - though Mr. Kolpert is her senior at work. Sarah (Shibani Bedi) is absolutely indifferent to what is happening. Adhiraj Katoch steals the show playing an insane but strangely in-control Ralf. He was so convincing in his performance that if I was to see this guy in real life, I will be scared. Performances by the entire cast keep you on edge of the seat throughout the play. You Though the theme is dark, the play is not dull. Dollops of humor add a strange but delectable taste to the dark chocolate.

Did they really try to kill Mr Kolpert?  Is he alive? Who is more likely to be a killer – an ever laughing person or a constantly angry, violent person? Will the much needed pizzas finally arrive in the right order? Go and watch the play if you need to know the answers. Needless to say, do not take children.

About the play:
Language: English
Theatre Group: Saanjha Sapnaa
Director: Ishwar Shunya
Written by: Davis Gielselmann
Music by: Sonam Sharma
Lights by: Ishwar Shunya
Props and set by:Saanjha Sapnaa
Poster/brochure by: Kanchan Ujjal

Adhiraj Katoch – Ralf Shroff
Shibani Bedi – Sarah Pinto
Tushar Dhaudiyal – Joy Bastian
Kriti Vij – Edith
Manik Papneja – The Pizza Man

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Play Review: Chukayenge Nahi by Asmita Theatre Group

If we were to ask a middle class person, what worries him the most these days, many of them would say ‘inflation’. Only thing which is growing faster than corruption in India are prices. You do not have to cut an onion these days for it to make you cry. Just looking at its prices sends the tears rolling.  
Image Courtsey: Asmita Threatre Group's FB Page

चुकंयेंगे ? नहीं ! (Chukayenge? Nahi!) is a Hindi adaptation by Amitabh Srivastava of Nobel Laureate Dario Fo’s original “Can’t pay, won’t pay”/ Non Si Paga! Non Si Paga!. The original play was written during autoriduzione (self-reduction) movement, during an economic crisis in Italy, in which women (and men) would take what they wished from markets, only paying for what they could afford. In the current state of India, a lot many people would want to do that. In the play they show what would happen if they actually did so. The entire play is set in a working class man’s house. The lower middle class woman (Lakshmi) becomes a part of spontaneous uprising at the local super market and comes home with lots of household material without paying for it. She is scared that if her self-righteous husband would find out, he would not agree to it. Her reluctant neighbor (Mala) becomes a part of mayhem and more complex spontaneous situations unfold when the police come knocking. So a lady suddenly becomes 5 months pregnant, new medical miracles happen with pregnancy transplants and things really get out of control when there is a “ek policewaale ki pregnant laash” on stage. The cast, comprising of Asmita’s lead actress Shilpi Marwah (playing Lakshmi – also seen in movie Ranjhnaa as Sonam kapoor’s friend) has given some phenomenal performance. Palak Bhutani (as Mala) was very expressive with her hand gestures and facial expressions and really showed her discomfort for being put into the midst of the situation as a spontaneously pregnant woman. Rahul Khanna and Ishwak Singh had small roles but set the audience rolling with laughter with their one-liners and body language. Himanshu Maggon and Gaurav Mishra depict the plight and the struggle of working class to great effect.

Asmita Theatre connects the audience like very few other theatre groups. Theatre in Delhi has often been associated with aristocrats and high society people, Asmita caters to entire population  - to the well read with their intellectually stimulating plays like Ambedkar vs Gandhi, to middle class through almost all their plays since they are an integral part of it and to the not so well read people like me can still enjoy a good laugh with easy to understand language without going bankrupt (due to their low ticket price). 

About the play:

Language: Hindi

Director: Arvind Gaur

Adapted by: Amitabh Srivast

Play By: Asmita Theatre Group