Direction : Alyque Padamsee
Cast : Shazahn Padamsee, Sabira Merchant and Asif Ali Beg


Deepa Karmalkar

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Love stories have always been a source of theatrical inspiration. Not surprising then if Sangeet Natak Academy award winner, Alyque Padamsee, chooses the ultimate tragic love story from Greek mythology as his 76th production. As to why he sets the reinvented avatar of the ill-fated romance of Orpheus and Eurydice in France, is anybody's guess! To lend it an exotic appeal, perhaps.

This is the love story of a struggling musician Orpheus (Mikhail Sen) and the ethereally beautiful actress Eurydice (Shazahn Padamsee). Orpheus is stifled by his overbearing father, (Riyaaz Makaney), and Eurydice is none too happy with her flirtatious, vainglorious mother (Sabira Merchant). The two youngsters bump into each other at a railway restaurant...err... a railway café somewhere in France. It is love at first sight and then the whirlwind romance overpowers their lives. Even if they elope, away from their oppressive parents, can they find peace and love? The plot is indubitably wafer thin with a predictable culmination, so the director plumps it up with a line-up of bankable performers, dazzling sets, alluring music pieces and some eerie special effects.

However, all the disaster management techniques in the realm of drama are unable to avert the inevitable ennui. The romantic scenes in the play are far from magical – instead they are marred by psychotic pangs of insecurity of the beauteous Eurydice. Even the most intimate moments are fraught with her all-pervading melancholy. Nevertheless, credit is due to the ageless and effortless Sabira Merchant, the graceful Asif Asif Baig as the mysterious narrator and Francoise Catellino as the devious Dulac. Their performances are spontaneously engaging. Debutante Shazahn is likable and is histrionically enabled - she certainly can work on her stage presence though. The charming hero Mikhail Sen has the sultry appeal with his hypnotic gaze.

Touching, heart tugging, lingering memories – sorry if you are looking for these qualities in the play – you are bound to be disappointed. This is popcorn-theatre – enjoy it while it's crisp.

*Deepa Karmalkar is a film and theatre reviewer. She has been an entertainment journalist for over fifteen years.

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