Game of Love, 4****, London

London
The Game of Love and Chai by Nigel Planer adapted from Marivaux
4****

Tara Theatre (short walk from Earlsfield station) until 24 March, 2018
https://www.tara-arts.com/whats-on/the-game-of-love-and-chai
2 Hours including a 20 minute interval

Veronica Stein, 7th March, 2018.

Feel good, feel better

Rani, and upright, uptight, and upper-class solicitor is arranged to be married to Raj, practically a stranger who works in pharmaceuticals. Suspicious of the whole affair of wedlock, Rani agrees to meet him if she can switch places with her rambunctious, lower-class cousin Sita to get a better look at Raj with far less pressure. What she wasn’t expecting was Raj executing the same plan, but with his driver, Nitin. Carnage- and several love stories- unfolds.

In Nigel Planer’s updated take on Marivaux’s The Game of Love and Chance, we get to see classic French farce meshed with bollywood and English-Indian culture. Set in London, the patriarch of Marivaux’s play has been replaced with Kamala-Ji (played by the coy and calculated Goldy Notay), Rani’s mother who watches the chaos unfold with a drink in hand and a crooked smile. Sunny, played by the comically gifted Deven Modha, is Rani’s cricketing brother whose one-liners sizzle: “Strange how love can bring about such a huge disregard for the suffering of others, isn’t it?”

Sharon Singh and Adam Samuel-Bal, who play Rani and Raj respectively, fulfill the roles of the lovers with ease and aplomb- though they particularly shine when they are pretending to be their counterparts, accents and all. Ronny Jhutti and Kiren Jogi as Nitin and Sita are the real MVPs of the evening, with their seamless inclusion of Bollywood references (and dances!) and terrific largess of spirit. Their warmth and timing is delightful.  Jatinder Verma’s direction is also sublime, marrying farce, tradition from a different corner of the globe, and modern ideals as seamlessly as possible.

The Game of Love and Chai is a hilarious romp with all of the familiar laughs of Marivaux and Moliere, but with a cultural freshness and contemporary sensibility. The laughs and the love are universal, but the flair of this production is all its own.

Credits

Kamala-Ji: Goldy Notay
Sunny: Deven Modha
Rani: Sharon Singh
Raj: Adam Samuel-Bal
Sita: Kiren Jogi
Nitin: Ronny Jhutti

Director: Jatinder Verma
Designer: Claudia Mayer
Lighting Designer: Andy Grange
Costume Supervisor: Hilary Lewis

2018-03-08 14:32:02

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