Unarviyam's Showboat, with two plays and two mimes was a good way to end the weekend. Susanna Myrtle Lazarus has the details
What did a love-struck psychology student, a confused barber, a crooked politician, a spiritual guru and a smart thief have in common? Well, they had the audience at the Museum Theatre on Sunday evening in splits.
"Showboat is a compilation of two original plays and two mimes written and directed by writers and directors of theatre group Unarviyam, which will be staged on a seasonal basis," said Vatsan Natarajan, one of the co-founders.
The evening started with 'Litmus Love', the story of Sumanya (Mayuri Ramanan), a psychology student who is smitten with research partner Robin (Kiran Naig). She is also obsessed with the book Litmus Love and its author, a Dr. Kamal.
Mayuri did a wonderful job of portraying infatuation turning into confusion when she finds out that Robin’s feelings don’t mirror her own. Prashanth Ramasamy, writer and director of the play, also took on the role of Dr. Kamal and did it well. Long pauses and repetition of dialogue made the first half a bit tiresome. The end got predictable but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the rest of the play.
Switching to mime, ‘Inglorious Barber’ took us back to an era when barber shops were the heart of social activity. It was directed by Karthik G.J. who also played the title role. His antics, along with those of his customers, were truly hilarious. When the barber turns into a criminal – believing that he has killed a customer, and slits the throat of another customer who is about to call the cops on him – one does not see the twist at the end.
A bar brawl interlude in the mime had too much happening onstage and didn't fit in with the barber’s story.
The second play, ‘Cut and Dried’, was a political satire that spared nothing while taking a dig at politicians and god-men. Dayal, a politician and Swamiji, a spiritual advisor, have been kidnapped by unknown people. Krishna Ganapathi as the politician and Vatsan Natarajan as the Swami were brilliant in their roles even without the freedom to move about the stage as they were tied down to chairs for the entire duration. Deepika Girish as their unnamed captor did not speak a word, but was most convincing in her portrayal.
The highlight of the evening was ‘Looters Looty’, the story of Fallu, an intelligent thief who gave the cops an almighty run-around. Karthik G.J. again played the lead in the 45-minute-long mime written and directed by Vatsan. Lokeshwaran Loki as the lead cop, aided by three other bumbling counterparts (played by Praveen Moorthy, Tekson Kurian and Karthikeyan Ramasamy), attempted to catch the burglar but was outsmarted each time.
The mime ended with a foot-tapping song-and-dance routine to an original composition ‘Thiruttu boys’. Mohan Dada and Karthika Pillai were a great supporting cast.
Overall, Showboat left us feeling rather satisfied with the two well-spent hours. Unarviyam is planning their next production in Bangalore, followed by a show in Chennai again, informs Natarajan. "We are very keen in bringing out more original content for Theatre plays/mimes," he said.