The Game of Love and Chai

B2 Belgrade Theatre Coventry and on tour


It might be the cynic in me but every time the cast broke into song in this wonderful production, my little head was joining in with the song Love and Marriage go together like a Horse and Carriage. I’ve never been sure . . .

Clearly the Bollywood style songs were just as well known and, I’m going to assume, on the same subject since that is the basic message of the play.

Written by Nigel Planer, still best known as Neil in The Young Ones, it is very funny, witty but also has a deeper layer of good sense about differing views of marriage between the genders – not only for Indians – but for men and women everywhere. This was Marivaux’s classic farce given the Bollywood treatment and it was a real treat.

Rani (Sharon Singh), a well-heeled London solicitor is being persuaded by both her mother Kamala-Ji (Goldy Notay) and ‘poor’ cousin Sita (Kiren Jogi) that it’s time she thought about marriage. Rani is not so sure BUT… a letter has arrived from India with interesting news.

Raj (Adam Samuel-Bal), a pharmaceutical executive with homes in Mumbai, Dehli and Derby and his driver Nitin (Ronny Jhutti) will arrive that morning for Rani’s inspection. Rani’s brother Sunny (Deven Modha) provides the perfect foil for a complex plot that takes some unravelling.

Mama-Ji hatches a plan for Sita and Rani to swap places so that Rani can have a good look at Raj before she makes up her mind. The trouble is that the chaps have gone for the same plan. It is love at first sight – I loved the little bell to indicate that - for both couples though it took some sorting out who was who! As they sparred, Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedict kept creeping into my mind.

What I particularly liked was that there was no shilly-shallying at the start, we were straight at it – banter, wit and humour given full rein under the direction of Jatinder Verma.

It’s increasingly obvious to me that the artistic programming of B2, the Belgrade’s second auditorium always offers the best value of new and established theatre. This Tara Arts production was both well-attended and well-enjoyed, plenty on offer and extremely enjoyable.

At the end, the cast appeared in full Marie-Antoinette era costumes, wigs and all as a homage to Marivaux. It was a great touch and great end to a great evening. To 28-04-18.

Jane Howard


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