Review | The Game of Love and Chai | The Lowry

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Kamala wants her daughter Rani to marry successful but emotionally awkward businessman Raj. Rani bristles at going down the conventional route and arranges a test for Raj. She convinces her cousin Sita to swap places and pretend to be the suitable bride – unaware that Raj has come up with the same scheme with his driver, Nitin!

With The Game of Love and Chai, Nigel Planer successfully dovetails a classical Marivaux farce with Bollywood song and dance to create a surprisingly successful hybrid.

With lavish stock characters arranging marriages left right and centre, the themes are featured predominately in both genres – Planer’s own silly sense of humour takes the comedy and play into the 21st century.

Scene from The Game of Love and Chai at The Lowry, Salford Quays. Photo: Simon Annand

Following a classic farce story line, a wealthy mother is trying to convince her single minded daughter Rani to marry businessman Raj. Rani, however, has other ideas about marriage, and wants to see if Raj will love her for who she is.

As chaos takes over the stage, Jatinder Verma’s direction ensures that no matter how crazy and wild the action gets, the storytelling never loses your interest and understanding – aided by stop moments, where the characters freeze the action and explain their feelings and thoughts to the audience.

Mixed with some lavish Bollywood music and dance routines, the costumes are traditional, colourful and beautiful and the set brings the culture of India to England.

Sharon Singh nails the headstrong Rani with a comic flare, but captures the romantic and heart-warming moment when she realises she’s in love with the hopelessly romantic and out-of-touch-with-live Adam Samuel-Bal’s Raj.

Strong and comic performances from all the cast, but a little cheeky shining star was Ronny Jhutti as the cab driver Nitin. Getting a battering from his boss, Verma’s use of commedia dell’arte adds a slapstick element to the show, and Jhutti plays this out very well.

Information about the show and how to book tickets can be found here.

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