Company makes theatrical magic look easy

20:56, Jun 23 2014

I don't think there is an avid theatregoer, practitioner or critic that does not have a soft spot for the glorious work of Indian Ink.

Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis never fail to delight, surprise, push boundaries of what New Zealand artists are capable of, and present skilful, poignant and humorous work that leaves you with that warm fuzzy feeling.

Their newest work, Kiss The Fish, presents us with a cast of four - five including live musician David Ward - inhabiting all the personalities (and wildlife) of the fictional island of Karukam. We are invited on the journey of love and loss with Sidu and his family, set against the capitalist temptation threatening their way of life. A relevant contemporary reality, and an allegory not altogether lost on us as Kiwis in our own slice of paradise.

Indian Ink are famed for their use of puppetry, physicality, playfulness, pathos, music and mask work. In this, the show does not fail to disappoint. Paying homage to Balinese mask tradition Topeng, the company blend all of the above in a Pantomime style that is disarming in its charm.

Jacob Rajan is one of the most joyfully magnetic performers working in our generation, and the cast do not disappoint alongside him. Nisha Madhan is particularly impressive: switching from the practical, beaten down sister Lakhsmi, to the whimsical lover Daisy. Anchored by James Roque as Sidu and complimented by Julia Croft, the characters are sharply drawn and performed with great physical skill and commitment. The masks themselves too, are a star of the show.

Although the complex plot felt a tad long and the poignant moments not quite as affecting as previous work, Kiss The Fish is full of all the company's trademarks. It is the small touches that make good companies great, and Indian Ink make theatrical magic look easy.

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