Saturday, 12 December 2015

Whose Sari Now, Lowry Studio 19/11/15

This latest creation from Rasa Theatre weaves together the tales of a diverse group of women, with the theme of saris , and what that garments represents to them being the silken thread that connects  all the tales together.

Topping and tailing the piece is the engaging and funny grandma whose collection of saris represents key moments in her life, we also meet an edgy transgender poet, a mother fleeing conflict with her newborn twins, a village woman working for a pittance to create western goods and remembering the beauty and craftsmanship of the old sari weaving industry and an educated Malaysian curator held back by her faith and gender by a prejudiced system.

Saris can represent many things to these varied voices, shame, power, family and protection, pride and repression. It is fascinating to see the variety and sheer diversity of life represented by the action on stage.

Rani Moorthy as ever gives an absolute powerhouse of a performance, nailing each diverse character, and bringing such life, energy and warmth to the stage. She seamlessly transitions between the contrasting roles and you really care about the lives that you are seeing unfold.

Like any diverse group of characters, there are some that you would like to see more of, and some who you don't warm to as much. The Grandma who frames the tale was my favourite, engaging, tender, mischievous and as we see, ready to move on. I could have taken a whole show of her. The poet was an interesting character and a good contrast but I think for me maybe slightly outstayed her welcome.

Unlike the last show I saw of Rani's, Looking for Kool, which taught me a lot about a culture and a history I knew nothing about, with this show, whilst I enjoyed it immensely, I did feel that feel that a little background knowledge might have made it more immediately accessible for me, especially for the story of the curator. Unfortunately as it overran I was not able to stay for the post show q and a that might have filled in a few of the gaps for me and deepened my knowledge of the background to the characters portrayed.

But overall I was really glad to share in this performance that clearly meant so much to performer and a lot of the audience. Tender, touching, funny and brave, and performed by a fantastically talented writer and actress. A privilege to be part of. 

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