national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


(Sivani Chinappan)

Triumphant acting debut for Sivani Chinappan. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Tonight’s audience at Catalina Theatre witnessed the triumphant debut of dancer Sivani Chinappan in an acting role. Holding the audience captive in this one-woman show that lasts about an hour and a half without interval, she tackled the considerable demands of this role which includes playing both male and female characters. The emotions range from naiive charm, gusto, comedy and forceful emotion to incoherent fear and screaming terror.

A Cookie in the Kitchen is written and directed by Vivian Moodley, produced by Pranesh Maharaj. It is presented by Polart Productions which produced the recent Bhagwan gave me this Life and Late night with Mohammed Rafi. Polart is committed to producing serious theatre that has a mix of comedy and an underlying important message.

Vivian Moodley’s extensive theatre experience allows him to take the subject of women abuse and create a script that is entertaining – and often hilarious - while leaving audiences in no doubt as to the seriousness of the subject. A Cookie in the Kitchen was first presented a number of years back, featuring Kumseela Naidoo. It also ran as a series on LotusFM's radio drama programme.

Cookie is a housewife, married to a couch potato - a “sportsman who plays from the settee” - who would prefer she remains out of sight rather than enter into any form of conversation with her. The play is set in her kitchen on a night when her husband is next door with a bunch of friends. All soccer fans and fanatic Manchester United followers, they are watching a game on television. As the evening progresses and the match isn’t going Manchester United’s way, Cookie prepares herself for the worst.

It’s a regular scenario in her world. The men progress from beer to brandy and eventually end up drunk. If the match goes well, things may not be so bad. If it doesn’t, as in this case, she knows that he will become physically as well as mentally abusive and will take out his frustrations on her.

Unseen offstage are her children who she talks to throughout the play, urging them to go to sleep so they can’t irritate or attract abuse from their father later on in the evening. His thinking being that if they make a noise, they cause the game to be lost.

The family have just moved and, as she goes through the process of unpacking, memories are triggered through items or newspaper cuttings. This gives the actress the opportunity to show her versatility through a number of characters, the most memorable being that of ‘Nuts Uncle” as well as her ingenuous charm as she relates her sister’s ill-fated love affair.

Sivani Chinappan is a South Indian classical dancer who graduated in Bharatanathyam and studies annually in Chennai in India. If her acting debut is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see where she’s heading in the theatre world!

A Cookie in the Kitchen runs nightly until March 31 at 19h00 at Catalina Theatre at Wilson’s Wharf with a Q & A session of 15 minutes after the show. Tickets R100. Seating is reserved. Booking through Computicket; or phone 0861 915 8000 or book online at – Caroline Smart