In the build-up to watching Marital Blitz at The Playhouse Company’s New Stages 2012 on Friday – its second consecutive weekend for this year’s festival – I wasn’t sure what to expect because the piece is penned and directed by popular playwright Ashwin Singh, revered for his dramas that tap into SA stories.
I was pleasantly surprised as I watched the production unfold at the Loft Theatre. Its laugh-a-minute script was a combination of hilarity and a bit of food for thought on marriage, trust and basic family values.
The highlight, though, was being able to relate to the characters, who are much like the everyday characters we have in our own families and communities.
Hinged on newly-weds Sanvir (Nesan Pather) and Shalini (Kajal Maharaj), Marital Blitz explores misdemeanours, miscommunications and plain old misunderstandings in marriage. Sanvir and Shalini are juggling the strains and stresses of a “comfortable” marriage, the responsibilities of their new life and Shalini’s sneaky suspicion that her husband may be hiding something.
In the mix are the antics of the eccentric Mr Poona (Singh), his wife, Aunty Dolly (Derosha Moodley), and Shalini’s best friend, hairdresser Desree (also played by Moodley), who offers Shalini some unusual tips on spicing up her marriage.
As the play unfolds in something of a TV sitcom fashion, the mysterious, suspected affairs are unravelled in this whirlwind of a comical journey.
The entire cast deserve kudos for their performances, which had me in stitches for most of the production. Moodley deserves special mention for both her characters (Aunty Dolly and Desree), which she pulled off with aplomb.
Maharaj is a shocker as she unleashes the comedic beast within, particularly in her drunken scene where she learns how to woo her husband again.
A particularly nice element of the script is that it’s not just an outright slapstick comedy offering, but golden nuggets of advice on love, marriage, divorce and family are weaved into the production.
It makes for a holistic offering of good values that are easy to digest in such a format.
Marital Blitz marked the second weekend of the Playhouse’s New Stages 2012 season, with the first weekend starting with Iain “Ewok” Robinson’s Seriously? The festival wraps up this weekend with uZulu noQwabe, a multimedia dance theatre piece that explores (in metaphors) the legacy of Nguni cattle and the multiple roles they play in the lives, history and socialisation of the Nguni people.
The production features James Mbhele, Busi Deyi, Sizwe Hlophe, Wiseman Mncube, Ngcebo Nzama and Musa Hlatshwayo in the cast.