“All in all, this cast is a delight in their ability & combination. “
Words Mike Beck photos Andi Crown
The Auckland Theatre Company, in collaboration with Praya Theatre, brings Rohinton Mistry’s brilliant novel ’A Fine Balance’ to the stage of live arts hub Q Theatre, and the timing couldn’t be any better.
Rewind back to 1975 India, and it’s blood on the tracks all over again. Under the country’s serving Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, a state of emergency has been called. The propaganda slogan is “there is no need to panic.” Ah right. It would seem a population cull is transpiring.
Yes, India’s government is looking to clean up the country. Statistically speaking, the state is carrying the weight of its impoverished, the prime target/culprit are the caste system’s lowest & most vulnerable tier.
This is a time when the segregated structure of society challenges those who keep the very system propped up. Those caught in the crossfire must put their differences aside & bond together, support each other & flame the spirit of humanity. This is a story of survival.
“Hats off to The Auckland Theatre Company for delivering a welcome tale that takes its audience into the past to find equilibrium in the present. Namaste to that. “
Excellently adapted by Sudha Bhuchar & Kristine Landon-Smith for the stage, & confidently directed by Ahi Karunaharan, A Fine Balance embraces a top-class all-Asian ensemble. Combined with Q’s unique setting (a centred performance area with the audience built around it), this is live theatre at its best.
Be on the lookout for Mel Odedra as Om, & Mustaq Missouri as his minder Ishvar. These two work together brilliantly. Rashmi Pilapitiya who plays central character Dina, shows her versatility in this role. There is also some clever use of lighting, which works well with the perhaps underused presence of puppetry. All in all, this cast is a delight in their ability & combination.
Spoiler Alert; cricket doesn’t get a mention, India’s favoured fanatical sporting pastime (although that may be a blessing to many).
A Fine Balance flows along, & has been well adapted/condensed from source material that contains a lot of detail. Its intertwining relationships/intersecting storylines pull together the ingredients of loss, love, corruption, friendship, greed, politics, humanity, heartache, & resilience to surmise some of its many elements. Hats off to The Auckland Theatre Company for delivering a welcome tale that takes its audience into the past to find equilibrium in the present. Namaste to that.