Review: The Mourning After
Where: Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
This is a heart-warming story of a young boy who returns to his family’s home town in Sri Lanka many years after the devastating Tsunami to fulfil his father’s last wishes. This passionate piece of theatre is brought to us by the honest writing of Ahi Karunaharan and the directing of Padma Akula as a part of the Prayas Theatre.
Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, the expatriate Shekar (Shaan Kesha) is met by his father’s extended family, a loving Uncle Somu (Mustaq Missouri) and a naïve boy named Raju (Ravi Gurunathan) who suffers from a touch of ADD and PTSD, and his loving leathery lizard friend the Kabaragoya (Anjula Prakash) who was convincingly played by a human. As Shekar’s journey of self-discovery to find closure, he finds himself stuck in the middle of a long familial dispute that his father left behind to come to New Zealand.
There were many bright shining moments in this play, but the overall praise has to go to the whole cast and the director. I could go on and on about the convincingly emotive performances of each person but everyone stood out on their own accord. In particular I have to praise Gurunathan for his portrayal of Raju – perfectly capturing the naivety of someone filled with unprovoked optimism from trusting his culture, heritage, and family. He brought constant laughter to the audience, and still managed to charismatically and passionately explore themes of love, loss, and vulnerability.
The wonderful use of set and space is also something to give credit to. However there were a couple of sound issues where the backing track sometimes masked the dialogue into mumbles. Despite this, the magic of the story is upheld by an outstanding cast, direction and writing – and this is definitely a piece of gem that you do not want to miss out on. This showcased a lot of the up and coming young talents and sure will be keeping an eye out for other productions from the Prayas Theatre.
The Mourning After plays from 30th June to 3rd July starting at 8pm at the Basement Theatre, you can buy tickets through HERE starting from $20.