Secret crushes and heartache

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TO NDR Kuch Review

KUCH KUCH HAPPENS

DIRECTOR: SHIVANI KARA and Yujir Rampersad

CAST: 20 DANCERS

VENUE: SUNCOAST SUNZONE

UNTIL: 1 APRIL

RATING: ***

Shivani Kara’s latest stage production, Kuch Kuch Happens, opened at the weekend at the Suncoast SunZone, taking on a slightly different format.

A mix of narrative, melodrama, music and dance, Kuch Kuch Happens is a story that is hinged on friendship and an interesting love triangle.

Meera (Shefali Daya) and Neha (Roxanne Carter) are long-time friends.

Their circle of friendship is extended when Sameer (Yesheen Bhagwan) arrives from overseas to attend a wedding in India and the three become buddies.

But kuch kuch is happening, with Sameer falling hard and fast for Meera, and Neha falling head over heels for Sameer – unbeknown to either of the three.

The audience is taken on a journey of love gained, lost and found in Kuch Kuch Happens.

Kara and co-director Yujir Rampersad chose something of an alternative route in showcasing this production – a mix of narrative and melodrama, but mainly music and dance.

Unlike Kara’s famous hit Dance With Me Baby series (which was high on music and dance content) and Dancing with Legends (where multimedia was used in the production), Kuch Kuch Happens had a full storyline behind it, much like Kara’s Sleeping Beauty: A Bollywood Fairytale.

However, unlike in Sleeping Beauty: A Bollywood Fairytale the directors have opted not to let the performers act out any of the scenes, but rather have those narrated (via a recorded reading of the story), followed by a corresponding scene of dance segments that continue that narration.

While this is an innovative change on stage, I feel that this format leads to much “dead space” in the production where the audience is sitting in the dark listening to that narration before the next set on stage.

I feel that this slows down the pace of the production and that perhaps it would have been better for the narrated scenes to have been acted out.

That said, the cast deserve kudos for translating and continuing the narrated story in dance very passionately, particularly the lead characters mentioned above.

Their performance is such that as the audience, you don’t just listen to the story, but you feel the emotions behind it.

Carter deserves a special mention on this note as she performs with such fervour.

A scene that particularly comes to mind is one where she first hears her secret love, Sameer, declare his love for her best friend Meera.

Her expression of that kind of heartache was moving.

With Kara’s signature high-paced dance routines, the full cast did a great job of keeping up and performing zealously.

The music for this show is a fine mix of hits from 2011 and 2012 (Indian and English/ mainstream hits), with some fusion and classics – with each song well suited to the scenes for which it was chosen.

While this kind of show is particularly suited for Bollywood fans and lovers of Indian music (whether the golden oldies movie favourites or modern fusions) – a love story is a love story, and Kuch Kuch Happens is an interesting love story.

• Kuch Kuch Happens stages until April 1. Tickets are R100 per person and available through Computicket or the Suncoast box office.


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