Express News Service
First Published : 17 Jun 2010 12:10:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 17 Jun 2010 09:11:23 AM IST
The little theatre, as a part of The little festival, proclaimed to be Chennai’s first international theatre festival for children, staged Kingdom of Joomba on Tuesday at The Museum theatre, Egmore. They performed in front of a small turnout, most of who seemed to be friends of the on-stage performers! But to their credit, they came up with a fairly engaging performance, which entertained in parts.
It was a day when a lot of things went their way. First and foremost, the ambience at the venue was outstanding, setting the stage for a riveting performance. Secondly, the audio and the lighting were extraordinary. Kudos to the men behind such intricate work. But the plot was a big letdown. How many more times are children going to be treated to the same old “Prince in trouble breaking all barriers to eventually marry the princess”? It’s high time that scriptwriters started thinking on their feet. The script was disconcertingly clichéd and the dialogues were banal to make it worse. The play was festooned with grandiloquent monologues and poetic lines loaded with oodles of love. Unfortunately, the writer seems to have forgotten the fact that this play is meant for children and not for fans of Shakespeare and Wordsworth.
Six actors playing 14 characters added to the disarray and perplexed the already befuddled children, many of whom failed to come to terms with what was happening on stage. The actors played their parts quite well though. Karan, who played the prince and Ashley, who played the evil cook, impressed. But the show stealers were undoubtedly Abishek and KK, who played Gamma and Mamma respectively. Their punchy one-liners and outrageously funny antics had the audience in splits most of the time. But the performance of the sole female actor in the group, Nanditha, left a lot to be desired. I wonder who told her that sounding like an amplifier helps you win children’s hearts. Her loud outbursts, which were supposed to melodramatic yet funny, only managed to frustrate and test the patience of the audience. Joel, who played grandma Bo, could have worked a little more on his body language.
One would also expect a children’s play to be full of colourful props. Regrettably, it wasn’t the case. Though the actors infused life into their performances, they hardly connected with the audience, Mamma and Gamma being noteworthy exceptions. The directors of the play should have focused on better stage usage and makeup that would suit the characters. Dr Kuyilan, in charge of the music, did a fairly neat job and so has Ashley, the choreographer. It was a good attempt that could have been a lot better had they filled up the loopholes that loomed large on the majestic stage.