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Who cooked the meatballs?

What’s Italian food without a little saucy spice

Photo:G. Krishnaswamy

Hyperaction Anju Taraporvala goes bombastic in Murder on the Menu

“When a hussy steals your husband, the best revenge is to let her keep him.” These and other gems peppered the play Murder on the Menu performed on Sunday night for an intimate audience at the Taj Banjara.

It is not a proscenium where main character strings up the play after a murder with poisoned meatballs. It happens in the midst of the audience as Shahriyar Attai playing the owner of a New York diner Luigi strumming the guitar and laying out the Italian menu of La la lasagne…sung to the tune of La la bamba… With a beard and appearance like Robert Pastorelli and with an Italian accent (popularised by the Godfather series) Shahriyar transports the audience to the diner where a daughter is being forced to sign her divorce papers by a gold-digger mother. In walks a wannabe-journalist Phyllis North (Dilnaz Irani), while she is about to crack open the can of divorce who walks in but the man himself: Nero Sharpe with his newest arm-candy Arlene D’Amore (Ambika Sanjana). While he is the propertied man about town only short of cash she is the dumb-bimbo who thinks an artist is someone who robs the bank (she added the con to the artist and came up with the thought). Once all the ingredients are there, the chemistry of the characters plays out in the least expected way as Nero Sharpe chokes over the meatballs with calamari sauce.

The title shows the plot in a nugget, but the play in two Acts panned out much differently with the least suspected character playing the executioner’s part. Between the first and second act there was a round of cocktails and the audience were given papers to name the most likely murderer. It almost looked as if the audience would poll the votes and person getting most votes is the killer. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

A racy paced supper theatre where the attention never flags, it was director Karla Singh as Jewel Murdoch and her witty one-liners that had the audience in splits.

SERISH NANISETTI

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