The drive is a long, winding one; the setting reminiscent of a serene villa in
the hills; the weather just breezy right for an al fresco leisure session; and,
most importantly, the cause for the gathering, noble. If only the entertainment
matched up to the Saturday night sizzle.
But it wasn't really the fault of the performers; it was more like the choice of skits that made the show a bland, jaded affair. While Neil Simon, bless the playwright, was indeed like a beacon light for many a fledgling theater group, we would have wished for a veteran like Arvind Mittal to give us a richer and deeper, a more dramatic experience. Much as the crowd graciously acknowledged and appreciated the show considering that the effort was for a cause, it cannot be denied that one had greater expectations of the seasoned dramatist.
The Walden Resorts at Whisper Valley in Jubilee Hills was stage for the enactment by Expressions of Neil Simon's skits "The Arrangement", "The Surgery" and "The Defenceless Creature". The show was held in aid of St. John's Lodge No 434 EC, and there was a sizeable crowd cheering the performers.
While "The Arrangement" has a father fixing up a rendezvous for his son's initiation into the carnal experience, "The Surgery" was about a dentist's professional teething troubles. And the third short skit was on how a bank manager is literally shouted down by a wily woman, who extracts her pound of flesh - 24 roubles 36 kopecks, to be precise.
All the actors were excellent, though Madhu Swaminathan as the shrewish wife of a bank customer (reminding one of the whimsical Pheoebe Boofay of the TV series Friends),
se gout, worsened by the hysterics of the visitor to the bank, quite sparkled.
There are smart cameos, funny-but-never-hilarious lines and a dash of slapstick, but do we still have to depend upon jokes on shrewish wives, stereotypical bank officials and mild double entendre to entertain us? Surely there are enough creative people amongst us to cook up a show of pure, intelligent humor and originality and who could be better executors of such innovative scripts?