Star of the season

A scene from Star of Wonder staged at Museum Theatre. Photo: M. Vedhan  

The busy sidewalks of the city may be decked with movie posters and not Christmasy paraphernalia but the feeling of Christmas is beginning to seep into the air. And the Mellow Circle’s 15th annual musical production is certainly an embodiment of this Yuletide cheer. Star of Wonder, described by its creators as an out-of-the-world Christmas play is everything a Christmas tale must be — cutesy, uncomplicated, straight-forward, colourful, heart-warming and inclusive.

It tells the story of Peter, a widower and his two children, Sara and James, who win a ticket for the first-ever space tourism cruise. A freak accident in the cosmos forces them to land on a strange place and another time — the state of Judea 2000 years ago. A chance encounter with a Jewish tribeswoman, Adriel, sees them being sucked into the maelstrom of events that precede the birth of Christ.

The star of the production is unmistakably Yohan Chacko’s King Herod who is depicted as a hedonistic, pompous, bombastic and deeply insecure man with a tormented soul.

Ameera D’Costa as Adriel is rather lovable, despite her prickliness as is Arul Chittaranjan’s somewhat preachy Peter. James, played by Simon Elias, may be a likeable and cheerful chap but his addiction to his I-pad gets a little annoying. In fact, most of the attempts at humour that revolve around the I-pad are often unnecessary.

An interesting use of space, by both the actors and singers, which saw them emerging not just from the stage but from nooks and corners of the Museum Theatre where the production was held, was a nice touch as was the large screen on stage that lent to the setting by displaying images of space-ship interiors, a desert flanked by palm trees, the star of David in the sky and the interiors of a tent. The sets (Elias Koshy) and the costumes (Sheila Paul) are colourful and visually appealing while the lighting (Mohan Daniel) is elaborate and really gives the play an extra oomph — especially since the action occurs not just on stage but in the entire theatre.

While the 50-member choir was unmistakably amateur, the energy and joie de vivre that they brought onto the stage, more than made up for the occasional off-key note. And the way they were integrated into the show, as part of the multitude in Judea rather than a standalone choir, was another nice touch. An unexpected rendition of John Denver’s Perhaps Love, by Adriel and Peter makes their otherwise tame love-story rather poignant.

While the sudden bursts of theology during the show, the proceeds of which go to Prathyasha, the Mellow Circle’s home for children with HIV, were a little cliché, it did manage to capture the spirit of the season, driving home the point that Christmas is all about love, sharing and giving.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 8:56:06 PM |

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