Not really a laugh riot

Before Metrolife gives you an account of this play, one thing needs to be made clear, its name is as cryptic as its plot. As the narrative gains momentum, the name of the play Birdie Numnum seems relevant but the loosely-based adaptation of Adam Bock’s The Receptionist remains unimpressive.

Presented by Epic Shit Entertainment at Akshara Theatre over last weekend, the dramatic piece tried to justify the genre of a comedy-thriller through a cinematic approach that was loaded with adult humour. In short, Madhav Mehta (the director) attempts a flimsy and senseless comedy that comes to an abrupt end after heightened drama during climax.

Taking the cue from typically B-grade Hindi films where the villain beats the protagonist and is later beaten by an aide of the protagonist, the play incorporates all that it could, in terms of vulgar dialogues, ‘F’ words and double-meaning conversations to justify the ‘comedy’ angle.

The action is mainly based in the South Delhi office of a real estate company ‘Ghoda Realtors’ where the office desk of the receptionist remains in focus. Replete with pens, edible goodies and even a teddy bear, this table belongs to the receptionist Lilly Khosla, played by Mallika Dua whose character draws inspiration from typical middle-class Punjabi women working in a South Delhi-located office. Her pidgin English coupled with antics (such as worshipping the office board while imitating a horse) make her the star-of-the-show among the audience.

In reality, however, it is the veteran Maheep Singh –  who plays the role of Pappan Pilo, the head of this South Delhi branch, who carries his demeanour in a serious yet laughable manner. Defining the true meaning of the genre of comedy (that should not necessarily be over the top or require an actor to be sleazy), Maheep arouses the interest of the audience in the otherwise sullen humour going around him.

As he gets abducted, the action shifts from being so-called hilarious to thrilling, raising the hopes of the audience. Still, the inexplicable addition of the eunuchs (enacted well by Rahul Tewari and Shivam Pradhan) in the story takes away whatever expectations were left! The sub-plot informs the audience about the existence of these eunuchs living in a basti near the office and they come in handy in bringing about a ‘happy ending’ to the excruciating 80- minute long marathon that made a few laugh nonstop and others hold their aching heads.

This one is recommended if only you like to watch nonsensical stuff in the name
of theatre and have excessively extra time and money with you!   

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