HYDERABAD : What happens when a few travellers, yet strangers to one another, are stuck in a secluded guest house in some God-forsaken town cut off from the rest of the world thanks to heavy snowfall? Do they lose their sanity or does something really strange to the level of posing life threat happen? Yes, you are right, we are talking about a murder mystery written by none other than the Queen of crime novels – Agatha Christie, the late British author.
But no we aren’t talking about a sizzling Bollywood movie. We are talking about live presentation of the same: theatre which is. KissaGo, the city-based group organised a play titled Bungalow #144 at Phoenix Arena recently based on one of the works of the famous novelist. The adaptation was natural and the flummoxed artistes suited the flow of the narrative. Director Subhash Gupta did a wonderful job holding such a long performance together through several dialogues and acts.
The story is set in Snow View Guest House. A rattled Neena, played by Shailja Chaturvedi, the owner, along with her husband Prem Prakash (Dwij Vasavada) tries to settle some issues with her guests while each one is peculiar in his or her own way, the small chit-chat among them sets the mood for the story to unfold scene by scene. The plot is centred on an old lonely woman’s murder who was responsible for the exploitation of three orphan children one of whom dies while staying in her custody. It’s interesting to hear the piano tune ‘Three Blind Mice’ appearing off and on throughout the performance.
The plot unfolds with its twists and turns keeping the audience glued to their seats and guessing what’s to happen next. And to keep the suspense much like the theatre group KissaGo, we are also not disclosing Agatha’s novel name. The timings of the acts are set in rhythm and happen so smoothly that even barely-there flaws get masked. The stage set-up, too, was in sync with the story line.
Its size gives space enough for the actors to move. What’s interesting about the play is that each character appears suspicious and has a unique background. The murder of the old lady leads to the killing of one guest Mrs Das, who kept the audience entertained through her humorous talk infused with Bengali accent. The police inspector, played by Jay Jha, who arrives later lends more mystery to the plot. The way his arrival leads everything to the closing of the story is intriguing. The actors succeeded in taking the entire performance forward quite comfortably. It’s a good show to enjoy on a cool June evening in an open area.