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Best captured in a simple three-letter word: fun

By: Stuff Hamilton

When you arrive at Mrs Krishnan’s, make sure you don’t fiddle with the stock.

It may seem like the most eccentric party at the back of a dairy you’ve been to, but it is no ordinary occasion.

It’s a night to leave your responsibilities – and preconceived ideas of theatre formats – at the door.

It’s a night James (Justin Rogers) claims is bigger than Christmas, bigger than Big Day Out, and like the WOMAD festival, but with more “woah​”.

Indian Ink’s production Mrs Krishnan’s Party premiered in Hamilton on Wednesday, and will run at the Meteor Theatre until August 18.

But the eponymous hostess is hesitant. She is awaiting her son’s return home and now her boarder (and wannabe DJ) James is throwing an Onam celebration.

Onam is the annual Hindu Festival celebrating the rice harvest, symbolising death and rebirth. ​The 2018 festival began the same day as the show’s opening night in Hamilton, which immediately made the event more than just an evening excursion to the theatre.

While telling the story of mythological demons, Mrs K (Kalyani Nagarajan) and James delicately reveal demons of their own. Mrs Krishnan wants to sell her beloved dairy. James is struggling at university.

As guests, you may be a timely distraction for the pair, but also unknowingly act as witnesses to the duo’s growth.

And that isn’t the only acting expected from the audience.

Mrs Krishnan’s Party is an immersive and interactive theatre experience, but bygone are any fears of looking foolish when called upon from the comfort of your seats.

The audience becomes the third, forth and fifth cast members, helping out around the house and keeping things afloat as Mrs K tends to her shop, as one would expect from polite guests at a party.

It’s easy to lend a hand when you’re seated around the dining table or kitchen bench, while the actors effortlessly slalom in amongst.

What’s also impressive is Kalyani and Justin’s quick-witted improv, their memorisation of audience members’ names, and their ability to make you feel welcome among the dazzling lights, beautiful props and elaborate setting.

The acting of these two Toi Whakaari graduates is top-notch, as is the writing and directing from Indian Ink founders Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis.

Laughs abound, heartstrings are tugged, but above all else, Mrs Krishnan’s Party is a night that is best captured in a simple three-letter word: fun.

Kelly Tantau, Stuff Hamilton

Mrs Krishnan’s Party, running at The Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria St, until August 18 before making its way to Auckland on August 22.  For more information and ticketing details, visit https://indianink.co.nz

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