You know how stand-up comedy and theatre are two different things.
While one needs you to be a great performer, the latter needs you to have great acting skills.
But, what if you are told that you are about to watch a play or stand-up comedy or even better, stand-up theatre! Of course, you are excited and have set high expectations, but at the same time you don’t know what to expect.
Goblin Productions’ play Gentlemen is a take on men’s obsession with the phallus.
Yes, you heard it right.
Phallus! If you could have a play exploring women’s sexuality (Read Vagina Monologues), why not let the men share the same privilege.
The play starts with Chacko (Ashvin Mathew) who suffers from erectile dysfunction and talks about how woman have it all easy when it comes to sex and how they have unrealistic expectations from men, for example the need to be ‘sensitive’.
One of his dialogues sends the audience into peals of laughter which we too found particularly funny.
“It’s a sin to expect a man to ‘perform’ in bed on the same night after going through the Indian wedding rituals.” He plays his part with panache and impresses with his histrionics.
I f R a j e e v Ravindranathan’s character ‘Shailesh’ was meant to be funny, we must say it was slightly disappointing.
You don’t know whether to laugh at him or empathise, with the turn of events.
Of course, full marks to him for playing an adolescent boy who discovers masturbation.
Somehow, we felt it was a waste of a good actor. Ajith Hande playing ‘Shoaib’ is a treat to watch who often shoots his mouth off and the ease with which he delivers the dialogues in typical Urdu dialect adds to his character, who does not see the point behind using a condom.
‘Ramalingam’, played by Anil Abraham (also the director of the play), an old aging man who feels neglected, hates taking the leak in the tube and misses the simple act of walking to the bathroom, strikes an emotional chord.
His pick-up-lines are sarcastic, clever and conveys more than ‘what meets the eye’.
Of course, how would it be complete without a female character? And voila jumps in Vyjayanthi (RJ Shraddha) who recounts the unpleasant experiences and everything a woman goes through just because a man refuses to see her beyond a sexual object.
She puts across a point that the gentlemen’s world is incomplete without a woman.
She moves on from being funny to empathising, with quite a ease. I would be lying if I said I didn’t find the play funny. It is a hilarious take on men’s obsession with his reproductive organ and sex, things we don’t like to openly speak about because it is ‘dirty’! But, we would agree that the play could have gotten better.
The writing is funny, no doubt, but it is nothing we have never heard before and hence it can be improvised.
The same old jokes sex jokes fails to surprise us. Every character starts out funny, but when you gradually and awkwardly realise it is time to get serious, slapstick comedy is abruptly thrown back at you.
Performances are good and all actors have a great comic timing. One thing that disappointed us was the fact that there was hardly any movement of actors and music could have been original or better. Depending on you, the play might evoke different reactions-contemplative, funny, scandalised or even red faced.
Having said that, this play will make you laugh and you might be taken aback with its boldness and honesty and is a interesting take on male sexuality.
So, you take them seriously when they warn you prior to the play, ‘Belt up, you are in for quite a ride’! And even if you leave your brain behind for this one, don’t forget to take your heart along, because even if you don’t enjoy the sudden profundity, this play is insightful and it takes on a issue beyond man’s obsession with phallus and its fallacies.
The play was recently screened at the Alliance Francaise, Bangalore.