Multicultural Magic Is A Must-See

By Ronn Kjestrup (Otago Daily Times)

Seven years ago, Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis formed The Indian Ink Company to produce Krishnan’s Dairy.

It was the first in a trilogy of productions, each touching on one of the three eternal questions: “Will I find love?” “How can I find happiness?” and “What is worth preserving?”

That production and its successor were hits and now The Pickle King has arrived for a short season at the Regent Theatre. As with both its predecessors, this production draws on a wide tradition of live performance including mask, music, puppetry, pantomime, dance and even clowning.

But this is too dry an assessment of the extraordinary alchemy that Rajan and his fellow performers — Ansuya Nathan, Nick Blake and musician, Ben Wilcock — create on the stage. It is even inaccurate to focus just on the performers, as the set, costumes, lighting and props play such an important part in the production.

For this is total theatre, a luxuriant style well suited to presenting the broad themes addressed here and telling the tragi-comic tale of the Empire hotel and its human contents.

And it’s fun — broad at times, extraordinarily touching at others and even addressing the politics of immigration.

The Regent was perhaps a little large for some of the more intimate moments but, once again, The Indian Ink Company has tapped a sort of multicultural magic realist vein to tell a great story.

If you saw their previous productions, you will have already booked.

If you missed Krishnan’s Dairy and The Candlestickmaker, I suggest you do not miss the swan song of this important New Zealand company.