Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Ankur Bahl is an infectious performer and here he plays Miranda, a Bollywood wannabe, who graces the bars of Goa looking for ‘proper’ English theatre. Combining live music, dance and text, Miranda is a gem.
On the stage two musicians play violin and percussion, then with grace and colour appears Miranda. She dances expertly around the tiny stage and begins to tell us the story of how she was approached by actor Ferdie, who is part of a British theatre troupe performing The Tempest. She joins the troupe and they begin rehearsals, but then mysterious things start to happen..
The story, by Farrukh Dhondy, is in the vein of magical realism and complements the style of this production perfectly. Some of the characters however, are a bit one dimensional and the action thin on the ground. The ‘handsome young black man’ for instance never really gets beyond that description and although it is in Miranda’s perception, it weakens the narrative. The action and structure overall feels a little patchy but it is a lovely story in its own right, it may just work better on paper.
However, in terms of stage directiion, Jatinder Verma has done wonders with his performer. Bahl uses a red rope with great skill to evoke a range of objects and actions: A motorbike, a car journey, a loving embrace, and also to differentiate between the dress and look of the characters. He has included both classical and contemporary dance to the story and the pace and structure is perfect.
Bahl is a consumate performer, and his feminine features allow him to play a young woman easily. His bright, garish costume is also fantastic. With the gentle interspersing of musical accompaniment Bahl takes us through the story with physical dexterity and precision.
Tara Arts are known for creating mgical theatre about Indian culture and in turn making it more accessible to the British audience. This offering, though narratively weak, is a treat to watch largely because of the look and performance of Bahl, and the gentle musical accompaniment.