Direction : Manoj Shah
Writer : Satchit Puranik
Cast : Devaki

ADBHUT Play Review

Jahnavi Pal

 ADBHUT Review

When one experiments with a delicate subject like mental health the risk is that it may end up being morose or grim. But director Manoj Shah's latest offering, ADBHUT is none of that. In fact it takes a light-hearted, yet serious, look at this sensitive issue. And the impact is immensely felt.

The play, a solo act in Gujarati (adapted from Duncan Macmillan's EVERY BRILLIANT THING) is the story of a young girl whose mother is depressed and repeatedly attempts suicide. The effect this has on the seven-year-old's life and her extraordinary ways of dealing with it as she grows up is indeed unique (adhbhut). Performed by the talented RJ Devaki, ADHBHUT is an interesting experience. Devaki is a natural and despite the temptation to go overboard in many of the scenes she gives a controlled performance. From playing the bubbly chirpy seven year old, she moves effortlessly to playing a teenager and then a mature young woman.

The play effortlessly traverses through different pathways with the help of audience involvement and the credit for this goes to both the director and the actor. The choice of songs takes you back in time when music was the hero. Devaki effortlessly takes you through this emotional drama which without being preachy says a lot.

What's interesting is the diary that the lead maintains wherein she notes down everything that is unique in numerical order so that she can share it with her mother . The play consumes you completely so that you don't notice that there is no set or dramatic lights.

One only wished that the audience interaction would be a bit minimised as it takes away from the actor and the crispness of the story. A few minor glitches need a little ironing as well.There is a lapse in dates as the protagonist speaks of being a seven-year-old in 1989 and then she says she met her love Shyam and exchanged books in the college library in 1990. And does Pune's Fergusson college offer Gujarati as a subject? One also felt that the list that she compiles which runs into ten lakhs and more could have been cut down. Of course, one must credit Devaki for her memory and recall of each and every listed item.

What's really noteworthy is the treatment of this play which is adhbhut and definitely worth a watch.

*Jahnavi Pal is a journalist, writer and theatre buff

Please click here for the preview of the play

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