Actor Niger Planer updates Marivaux’s French farce – The Game of Love and Chai – bringing it to life with an Asian family in England.
As it began Rani (Sharon Singh) and Sita (Kiren Jogi) discussed men and love. Rani is ever the pessimist whilst her less prosperous and less educated cousin Sita is full of joy and passion. The energy from the start was infectious and continued throughout, writes Susan Hallissey.
Kamala-ji (Goldy Notay) had arranged for a well to do young man Raj(Adam Samuel – Bal) to visit her daughter, Rani, with the prospect of marriage. Although Rani wants nothing to do with this she plots with her cousin Sita to change places so they can truly check out this potential suitor. Unbeknownst to Rani and Sita, a similar plan has been hatched by Raj and Nitin (Ronny Jhutti) and as businessman Raj takes the role of Nitin’s cab driver the chaos ensues. Nitin turns in an ultra-sleazy performance as Raj. Confused? Don’t worry it’s all slapstick and light hearted. And we mustn’t forget Sunny (Deven Modha) playing Rani’s brother, who gave some great comical moments.
Farcical, with a smattering of smutty double meanings, I was totally unprepared! Generally not my type of theatre, nevertheless I laughed and appreciated how the cast kept the momentum going, with a few inventive nods to France too.
Initially Kiren Jogi captured my attention, however, Sharon Singh’s ability to effortlessly dip in and out of accents left an impression after the first act. Much of the action was performed to the audience, breaking the fourth wall and Singh was crisp and sharp at each turn to both cast and audience.
The addition of music and dance in several spots really worked for raising the spirits on what surely must have been one of the most bitter and snowy evenings to venture out! Bright, colourful, gaudy and bawdy, the pace and passion should keep your attention. Not my usual cup of chai – but something a little more hot and spicy!
The Game of Love and Chai is on at Tara Arts, 356 Garratt Lane, SW18 4ES until March 24th Times: Mon-Sat 7.30pm. Admission: £15.30, £13 concs.