Review by Gayatri Adi
20 years on from Krishnan’s Dairy, Indian Ink brings back the same feel good comedy looking to push boundaries while touching on some real themes with Mrs. Krishnan’s Party. Directed by Justin Lewis, the show not only does justice to explain Onam, a harvest festival in the Southern state of Kerala, India. But, it takes the two character on the journey of life, death and rebirth (what Onam celebrates).
This show could not have come at a better time. With the state of Kerala facing severe flooding, 100,000’s displaced and unable to celebrate, the show takes it back to what it really means to celebrate Onam – being around the people you truly care about.
Throughout the show audiences can relate to the daily struggles of being a university student in Auckland, or being the immigrant parent trying to communicate with their child. With a little something everyone, the show left the audience clutching their bellies in laughter and gritting in their teeth in shared frustration. The show is sprung from a great script with the flexibility to improvise on stage by Justin Lewis and Jacob Rajan, and dramaturge by Murray Edmond.
Cue-catching between the pair – Justin Rogers (James/King Mahabhali) and Kalyani Nagarajan (Mrs. Krishnan) – was flawless and effortless. As an audience member you would think that this improvisation was scripted and rehearsed many times over, but we could not have been more wrong. The interaction between the two actors and their interactions with the audience made the show exuberant, engaging and entertaining.
What was lacking though was the costume for Mrs. Krishnan by Fiona Nichols. It felt like another Yule Ball dressing of the Patil twins in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (many fans have still not forgiven the travesty that was the Patil twin’s costume). But now, the twins could be replaced by Mrs. Krishnan.
Set in the backroom of Krishnan’s Dairy, it is not your traditional theatre style seating. You are welcomed by King Mahabhali showing you to your seating – top table, inner circle, wallflowers, cheeky seats and party animals. John Verryt designed an immersive environment depicting what you would think a (LARGE) backroom of a dairy shop would look like. Decked-out with flowers, hidden onions, fairy lights and so much more!
At the end we are left with a few loose ends, for us to interpret as our own, but fully-satisfied. A must-watch if you want to laugh, squeal, be shocked or downright flustered a some points. Go ahead and join the party with a room full of strangers who you end up feeling closer to by the end of the night.