Reviewed by Jesse Knight
A Fine Balance sees two giants of the Auckland theatre scene – Auckland Theatre Company and Prayas Theatre (New Zealand’s biggest South Asian theatre company) – joining forces to adapt Rohinton Mistry’s beloved novel in what is undoubtedly one of the years most highly-anticipated plays.
As soon as the show started, we were transported back and time and across the world to a hustling and bustling 1970s Indian city. The show’s refined use of lighting, music and even puppets made me feel as though I were looking down on a busy city street from my balcony seat. Light piercing up through the gutters, beggars moving around the audience looking for spare change and the shows unorthodox layout with a centered stage and a surrounding audience gave a sincere sense of immersion.
The intricate characters were well portrayed by the enthusiastic cast. We were introduced to an unlikely yet loveable household comprised of a widow, two hired tailors and an air conditioning student set in a busy 1970s Indian city. Only later do we see the heart-breaking effects India’s infamous 1975-1977 ‘State of Emergency’ on the characters we’d come to love, giving us an insight into just how treacherous the emergency was.
This immersive two-hour tale is an eye opener into a different culture and a different world. With loveable characters who, despite being separated by thousands of kilometers and 40 years from their 2019 Auckland viewers, have an instant connection with the audience. This isn’t a show to be missed.
What: A Fine Balance
Who: Auckland Theatre Company & Prayas Theatre
When: 14 June – 6 July. Monday-Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday-Friday 8pm.
Where: Q Theatre