Mrs. Singh And Me A Showcase For Actors Nimet Kanji And Munish Sharma

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By R. Paul Dhillon

The new Desi play (the only ethnic play) at this year’s Fringe Festival – Mrs. Singh and Me – comes across as a one-note exercise about a Hindu guy (Raj or the Me in the title) who kidnaps his Sikh girlfriend’s mom (Mrs. Singh) in a wacky plot to convince her that she shouldn’t be so damn traditional and let go of her stubbornness and let him and her daughter Sonia unite in holy matrimony.

Playwright and actor Munish Sharma, who plays Raj, has obviously designed this crazy plot to investigate weighty themes like cross-cultural love, identity, traditional baggage and the immigrant experience and he gives it a mighty effort even though a lot of it comes across as a bit heavy handed and somewhat regressive, especially given that we now live in a supposedly post-cultural bullshit society where young people can choose whoever they want to happily live ever after with (more like find a nice purgatory to waste their lives together if they are lucky – otherwise, as the rising divorce rate in the South Asian community shows, go happily their separate ways.

So the play seems a little old hat in that sense that a woman and her crazy-kidnapper of a would-be son-in-law spend an hour talking about why she has been kidnapped and then when she finds out what it’s all about, she is even more angry and enraged that not only this dimwit has kidnapped her but now wants to lecture her on love and other social evils.

But this is the Fringe so the extreme kidnapping, gagging and some serious violence dished out by Mrs. Singh goes with the annual theatre festival’s outrageous themes.

Despite what you may make of the themes presented, there is no doubting the acting talents of Nimet Kanji, who kills it as the very traditional Mrs. Singh and Sharma is also good as Raj.

But really as a playwright he does allow Kanji the main showcase and a number of good lines that playoff with big laughs.

This is a great effort by the entire team and theatre lovers need to take a peek at this screwed up proposal!

After it’s Fringe Festival run in Vancouver, the producers – South Asian Arts Society – will present Mrs. Singh & Me from Friday, October 2 to Sunday, October 4 in Surrey, BC at the Newton Cultural Centre (13530 72 Avenue).