Play review Theatre

Citizens review 'Detective 9-2-11': Noir par excellence

HYDERABAD ,TELANGANA, 25/08/2018: A scene from a Hindi and English play- Detective 9-2-11 written by Pallav Singh and Niketan Sharma, directed by Atul Kumar, performed during the14th edition of The Hindu Theatre Fest-2018 at Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad on Saturday. --Photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Jazz, noir and Atul Kumar

A musical. A neo noir thriller. A tongue in cheek homage to Hitchcock’s 39 Steps. This presentation by Atul Kumar’s The Company Theatre, was all this and much more. Amid a roller-coaster of emotions, there wasn’t a single dull moment and the live jazz band built the right atmosphere even before the play began in all earnest. The actors pulled off multiple characters with consummate ease, keeping the audience on their toes and in splits with a device a minute. Train compartments, ocean liner’s, the Bollywood villain’s lair all conjured up out of thin air.

True spectacle theatre at its finest!

K AKSHAY

Unique experience

An utterly absurd plot involving a murder with debauchery, romance, mystery and villainy thrown in good measure on a simply amazing stage setting is made lively and even gripping. Intelligent use of lighting and stagecraft with a live orchestra to boot added to the dream being sold. The witty single-word punches thrown in at the most appropriate moments created magic. The play entreats you to leave logic aside but it tugs at your hearts. Use of the familiar Bollywood cliches — from the dialogues to the costumes — was hilarious. All in all, an experiment in theatre and a unique experience for the audience.

Dr VSC Sekhar

Non-stop entertainment

The way the story entangles with the Bollywood-style sequencing made the play entertaining. The live band giving the background score, the perfect synchronisation of the actors to make the changes in the stage setting for the acts with ease, leaving the audience like me with new experience of watching the theatre. A perfect blend of all the departments – music, direction action, backstage.

G Aruna Kumar

Exhilarating journey

This very black and white era, (Bollywood) Hitchcock-inspired play, was a burst of all things that reinstates the faith that theatre can still win over movies! The way the team managed to pull off multiple sets, lighting, live music and effects so effortlessly, was as aplaudable as the performance by the dynamic cast.

Clever innuendos and quick jokes had the audience in splits and on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next scene. It took us on a wholesome, exhilarating journey that might have just inspired us to live a little more vivaciously!

Priyanka N

Great appeal

The play was a laugh riot for all age groups as me, my wife and my six-year-old laughed our lungs out. Though it doesn’t tax your brain much, its execution was perfect as the actors displayed amazing co-ordination in dialogues, stunts and comic timing. There was a live musical band running — as part of they play — all the time, which enhanced the overall visual and audio appeal.

Dharmendra Tolani

Enriching experience

Why have you come here? Seems like an ordinary question but the monologue presented as a dialogue with the audience was an amazing and power-packed beginning to the play Detective 9-2-11.

The Chaplin and Hitchcock inspired play was replete with crisp jokes (with great timing of course!) and an amazing suspenseful build-up. The play was unique because of the live jazz music, just the right lighting, novel techniques, impeccable timing and direction.

All in all, it was a visually and musically enriching theatrical experience.

Gargi Shivanand

A masterpiece

Set in the quaint black and white era Mumbai, this is the tale of Shekhar Kumar, a charming, smooth-talking protagonist whose otherwise calm and monotonous life turns upside down after an event-filled night at the Opera House, pushing him into the world of crime, espionage, romance and chicanery. Detective 9-2-11 is a grippingly written and exquisitely produced noir drama with elements of Hitchcock and Chaplin added for good measure. A host of impeccable acting talent with a discernible penchant for physical comedy, intelligent use of props and a live band subtly setting the tone make it a well-rounded masterpiece.

Rohith Rangu

The noir effect

The play kept its promise of delving into the comedy noir genre to great effect. The set design was incredible, with the ingenious touch of using movable props that denoted, say for instance, the run sequence as the character Shekhar is held in hot pursuit or that of a sequence in a train. The visual imagery coupled with the sense of music direction allowed for the little things of observation that allow for a good adaptation of a genre into the Indian framework of theatre.

The comedic or lighter elements of the play and its plot served to balance the brow of monotonous verbiage and emotional affect that a detective story could have sloppily surmised into.

Supraja R

Worth watching

A tribute to and a parody of the adventure romance, the play involves a handsome hero, Shekhar, framed for a murder he did not commit; an alluring Russian spy; a larger-than-life villain (missing an eye and completed by his beautiful albeit dumb female aides), damsels in distress, and a country’s safety at stake.

The acting is no less exaggerated than what the plot demands — the patriotism of the hero on the run, the sheer evil of the gangsters and gasping, swooning women. Stock characters who spout funny (even if some clichéd) dialogues, innovative props, subtle lighting, shifting stage settings and live music, bring to life the Bombay of the 1950s. For lovers of action, romance and comedy, it is a play worth watching.

Maria Rajan Thaliath

Synchronisation wins

Fun unlimited with a slick production of a barrage of spoofs! Side splittingly funny with brilliant acting and perfect synchronisation of the cast and behind the screen crew. The orchestra and song deserve special mention. All in all one could say that it was Bollywood on steroids!

Sunita Reddy

Graphic comic on stage

Detective 9-2-11 was a kind of play Hyderabadis wouldn’t have seen before. More than being a spy thriller, what stood out were the comic elements, the gags, the witty one-liners, and the extremely creative usage of props.

The plot revolves around a psychiatrist who gets entangled in a Russian plot to steal vital defence secrets from the country. What follows next is a roller-coaster ride with multiple characters getting in and out at a frantic pace. A graphic comic portrayed as a play is the best way of summarising this amazing effort by director Atul Kumar.

Ishíka Ranjan


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 3:24:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/noir-par-excellence/article24800650.ece

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