Breaking myths

Breaking myths

.with a delightful production

By Purva Grover

Published: Fri 27 Sep 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 27 Sep 2019, 2:00 AM

I'll start with a few common laments about local productions in the city, and follow it up with how they were 'close' to busted last weekend, as director Rashmi Kotriwala brought Neil Simons' Last of The Red Hot Lovers (an H72 production) to The Junction. The stage sets are a disappointment as production costs need to be kept low. We're overfeeding the city with scripts from the past; Last of the Red Hot Lovers premiered on Broadway in 1969 - times changed a long time ago and we're yet to acknowledge our little patience and shorter attention span for long productions and longer dialogues, even when the latter (in this case) are sharp and comical. The attention to detail is missing enough to vex the one critical person in the audience. Many a time, the amateur acting and directing eats into the charm of a live performance art form.
On a Friday evening, a gorgeous set (Hemami Technical Works) greeted us. The windows and not one, but three doors seemed like an apt luxury. The props were carefully selected from the vintage phone to the coat stand. The director placed a decent-sized picture of the lead actor, Rohit Prakash (Barney Cashman) on the chest of drawers. On point. Did I mention the presence of snow on the boots when Barney, a middle-aged restaurateur, enters his mum's home for the first time? Score. Each creator adds a special touch to the production; albeit small, it does add to the show. It was lovely to see Barney's mother, played by Viji Shashikant, on the rocking chair, asleep, as the audience walked in to take their seats.
Barney, with no experience in extramarital affairs, fails in each of three attempts, throughout a two-hour-plus show (yes!). Act one saw the talented Yasmin Altas (Elaine Navazo) crack up the audience with her OTT antics and great comic timing. Post-intermission, Farzana Palathingal (Bobbi Michele) took us on a garish, hilarious ride of another failed escapade. So far, so good. Next came up the brilliant actor Sarah Potter (Jeanette Fisher) with the melancholic humour and moral lessons; her poise and grace nevertheless won the audiences' (now very tired) hearts. Barney's growth in character was depicted with perfection. His dialogue delivery was great, though we couldn't help but applaud his varied expressions. Rashmi wasn't afraid of chairs - and even humans - falling on one another, adding to the real vibes.
Now, I'd watched 2 to Tango 3 to Jive in 2017 at Sheikh Rashid Auditorium and performed by known names like Sourabh Shukla and Achint Kaur. I remember little of its sets, acting or beyond. But this one is going to stay with me. Hats off to the actors for their presence of mind to make the tiniest mishaps (if one may call them so) look so natural! Yasmin's earrings fell out, Rohit ended up accidentally lighting a matchstick, and the door got stuck on opening/closing - yet, did we notice a thing? Nah. Score.

On this weekend:
- Sept 28, 7 pm, Alfaaz Ka Safa, a one-hour solo Dubai debut act by Yahya Bootwala, a poet and storyteller; The Junction, Al Quoz
- Sept 27, 11.30 am, Improvised Kids' Theatre Little Dahlings, a tribute to Roald Dahl, The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz
- Sept 28, 6.30 pm, Comedy Box Office, with local comics opening up for Rajneesh and Gaurav Kapoor; Headlines Cafe, Ibis Hotel, DWTC

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