Review: Mrs Krishnan’s Party
Indian Ink’s second show of the year is quite a step away from its first, and sets us in the back of Mrs Krishnan’s dairy, ready to celebrate Onam (a Hindu festival of life, death and rebirth).
Te Auaha has changed, I note, as I step inside. Far from the end-stage configuration the Whare Tapere theatre is usually in, we’re welcomed into a massive living room, complete with dining table, fully-functioning kitchen and several knickknacks. Photos are stacked on shelves, and really, the whole thing is very gorgeous. And homely.
There’s fairy lights hanging from the ceiling, garlands everywhere, and we’re all wrapped in gorgeous lengths of fabric, ready to party the night away.
That is, of course, when Mrs Krishnan comes home.
Mrs Krishnan’s Party is a sort of spiritual sequel to Indian Ink’s most well-known play, Krishnan’s Dairy, which first premiered in 1997. However, Mr Krishnan has died, the family’s baby has grown up and graduated university, and Mrs Krishnan has a new boarder living in her house, an aimless young man who tries to coax us all into partying.
There’s excitement, sadness, flirtation, and actual live cooking on stage. It’s a feast for the senses, as well as the mind, and the whole piece culminates in some classic and beautifully choreographed Indian dancing. Mrs Krishnan (Kaylani Nagarajan) is resplendent in her hilarity, but also plays the quieter moments with serious heart. James, the lodger (Justin Rogers), controls the audience with a practiced hand, and makes situations that could have been awkward completely hilarious.
My theatre-going companion and I were lucky enough to be ‘Party Animals’ – that is, we stood for the whole show – leaving use free to dance about without restriction for the duration. We are, however, exuberant (and mildly tipsy) youths, so if you don’t feel that option’s for you, there’s plenty of other seating configurations available.
This show is fantastic, as all in this vein tend to be, but it deserves more than that description. It’s immersive theatre at its best – not pushy, not judgmental – just open and welcoming and very, very fun. I left the theatre feeling far more connected to those around me, and totally jazzed from the energy in the room.
Stand too close to the center of the stage during Mrs Krishnan’s Dairy, and you might have to fry some onions, or add spices to a cooking pot, but you’ll certainly enjoy yourself while doing so.
Mrs Krishnan’s Party is being performed at Te Auaha in Wellington until the 29th of September. Tickets are available from Indian Ink’s website.