national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, August 25, 2012


(Shika Budhoo and Sandy Bigara)

A collection of good, humorous ideas. (Review by Viresh Prahalath)

Beswitched, currently running at the Catalina Theatre, takes us on a journey into the experiences of Pamela and Leela, two zany characters who come from completely different backgrounds. They live together as loving and sometimes squabbling roommates.

The plot: Leela (Shika Budhoo) is to marry Pamela’s (Sandy Bigara) brother Eric the next day, however things become complicated when they switch bodies after drinking aunt Vashti’s strange tasting tea. Being in each other’s bodies is far from comfortable and presents a huge problem, especially to Pamela, who does not want to marry her own brother!

Using comedy, the play intelligently brings forth the issues that arise when intercultural marriages take place. We get to see what Leela and Pamela’s family and friends think about their union through multiple frank, yet funny, characterisations that do not spare the audience from a South African reality of racial dissension.

The play is slightly choppy at times and I got the feeling that there were technical problems with missed sound and lighting cues. Added to this, the music is played at different volumes and qualities of clarity. This is just the first night, though, and it is sure to be ironed out in future productions.

The music in the play takes the viewer back to the 90’s and the first years of the new millennium with familiar pop hits by artists such as Bewitched and the Spice Girls. It also offers a trip down memory lane as Leela reminisces about the old television programmes that today’s 20 to 30-somethings used to watch as children, such as Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears and The Smurfs.

Sandy Bigara’s Indian accent did not work well and was not convincing when compared to those of artists such as Aaron Mcilroy and Kevin Perkins. She did, however, offer a good stage presence and an interesting character to watch on stage that did incite laughs from the audience. Shika helped bring the show to life with her manic stage antics and good delivering of one-liners that are so frank and real that you can’t help but laugh.

The set was scattered and had a wide array of childhood artefacts sprawled across it, which works in taking us to a more visually haphazard, childish time of our lives.

Ultimately, the show comes across as a collection of good, humorous ideas and spurts of acting talent that is untidily put together, playing more like a work in progress than a final piece. Yet it manages to be enjoyable. Due to the ever-changing nature of live performance and the abilities of its experienced creatives, it is almost certain that you will watch a tighter, more spectacular show in forthcoming performances. – Viresh Prahalath