Rajendra Moodley’s story The Perfume Garden about the life of a typical Melbourne Indian family is warm and funny. In two parts with a 20 minute break this story entertains for the whole performance.
Moodley plays Anand whose use by date as a marriage candidate is quickly running out and his parents have sneakily introduced a potential suitor, Devi played by Sacha Joseph a cute but emotionally distant young woman seeking a new life in Australia.
Anand’s ambitious parents Satya and Chitra (Vishwajeet Pradhan, Laura Lattuada) struggle to keep their spice shop viable whislt Chitra dreams of a tea lover’s cafe replace the spice business. The father is peeved that he and his wife have to care for a distant relative, a stroke victim Ayah, and pressure Anand to spend his time helping with her care.
As implied by the name of the play, Anand also creates perfumes he believes are both fragrant and magical. After smelling this aroma the normally still Ayah springs to life as an incarnation of an Indian diva spirit and the humour oozes across the stage, and I mean ooze, I suppose Bollywood is larger than life and all the performers.
The Bollywood dance performances spring out through regularity during the play, I love the festive colour of it all! Khema da Silva was the standout as Ayah and there were some extremely salient moments, but overall the performance was a tad disjointed, I am sure it got tighter during their season. Not quite there but still kept me interested and entertained during the two hours.
Australian Bollywood Productions, in association with What’s On Production Company, Ignite Bollywood and the Victorian State Ballet presents THE PERFUME GARDEN by Rajendra Moodley
Directed by Paul Watson
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Season: 3 – 13 August 2017