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Indian Ink picked the best for Pickle King revival

By: Kelley Tantau, stuff.co.nz

REVIEW: The play The Pickle King was written 15 years ago but you wouldn’t have picked it.

The fresh performance at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts in Hamilton slotted perfectly into our society. Was it the script, it’s themes, or both?

Its cast of three – plus one pianist – took on more bodies than one, yet the stage was never empty.

As suave and stealth as one of its leads, the show steals away time as it hops through its two-hour stretch.

Yes, Indian Ink’s latest tour is a master of deception.

The show begins with Ayrton Foote tickling the ivories and a masked man dancing his way through the Empire Hotel foyer.

An atmosphere of melancholy disperses when we’re introduced to Sasha: defiant albeit blind, and Jeena: an overqualified baggage carrier.

They journey through love and loss; their pasts hindering an easy descend into romance.

Then one windy evening, Death checked in to the Empire.

Indian Ink first-timer Andrew Ford embodied the slick George so well he earned satisfied dissatisfaction from the audience.

You hate him, but you love him.

As equally captivating was Kalyani Nagarajan as Sasha and Vanessa Kumar as Jeena.

Investing to the role and commanding the stage, it was easy just to love them.

These recent Toi Whakaari graduates were so well-cast they almost became part of the set, highlighted by impressive costuming and lighting.

Each actor seemed connected to the other, moving fluidly like the contents of George’s jar, which is something an audience revels in.

The Pickle King is Indian Ink’s most awarded play and it isn’t a challenge to see why.

The writing from company founders Justin Lewis and Jacob Rajan didn’t include a dull sentence, but wise phrases when you least expected it.

You can take a horse to the water, but try putting a ring on its hoof.

Some things worth preserving you can’t keep in a jar.

Indian Ink celebrates 20 years of crafting great theatre with the revival of The Pickle King.

You can watch the show until Sunday, May 28 at the Playhouse Theatre, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Knighton Rd, Hamilton.

Tickets and info at: indianink.co.nz/production/the-pickle-king

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