An entertaining musical treat

lively One of the peppy dance routines.

Keeping up with their tradition of promoting local musical talent and supporting local charities, the Cause Foundation’s annual musical Breaking Up Is Hard to Do was held in the City. The title is based on Neil Sedaka’s 1962 hit number and the play featured several of his other songs like Where the Boys Are, Calendar Girl, Stupid cupid and Oh Carol, as well as the title song. The audience was also treated to some lesser-known little gems like King of Clowns and Betty Grable.

As Leila’s plays always have the music and singing live, it was a pleasant change to have the band on stage right through the performance. The focus was on the music, singing and dancing with a romantic plot loosely woven in for good measure.

Neil Sedaka himself got his start in the Catskills during their heyday in the 50s and the musical takes place there in a resort called Esther’s. The characters were familiar and the plotline predictable. There's the blowsy manager Esther played by Christina D’Souza, and the hackneyed comic Harvey performed by Arvind Kasturi. There's the sexy leading man Del (Jude), complete with swivel hips, thin moustache and smarmy good looks and his geeky cabana boy and secret songwriter cousin Gabe (Neville).

Set during the 1960 Labour Day weekend, the story focused on the shenanigans and the different love interests that abound on stage and behind the scenes at the resort. When he wasn't bombarding the guests with well-worn but funny one-liners, the in-house comic-emcee Harvey secretly carried a torch for the  widowed resort owner Esther.

Meanwhile, jilted bride Marge (Meghana Dhawan) and her stagestruck pal Lois (Priyanka Krishnan) occupied Marge's supposed-to-be honeymoon suite and eyed Del while poor Gabe hovered in the wings nursing a big crush on Marge himself.

A plethora of Sedaka hits were tacked onto these doings, complemented by the on stage five-piece band and the back-up singers. The talented dancers came in at regular intervals swirling, twirling, shaking their booty and well choreographed heels to some of the songs while the rest were sung by the lovelorn folks in the plot. Priyanka as the peppy Lois was very entertaining and worked as the perfect foil for her mousy friend Marge, who also played her part well. The rest of the cast comprising old timers Prem, Arvind, Jude, Christina and Neville were competent as always lending their talents to prop up a thin storyline.

All in all, the play was wholesome family entertainment with plenty of good old-fashioned humour, romance  and musical talent.

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