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The Game of Love and Chai – 3 Stars


The Game of Love and Chai

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Reviewed – 21st April 2018


“a fun and lively take on a traditional farce, contemporary, relevant and wittily reimagined”


“What’s so terrible about marriage?” Sita asks Rani. Raj is coming to the house, an intelligent and successful businessman, and a possible marriage prospect for Rani. But Rani isn’t convinced, so she enlists the help of her cousin Sita. They will exchange identities so that Rani can get to know the real Raj. What she hasn’t counted on is that Raj has had the same idea, and has swapped identities with his Uber driver. This is an original take on the 18th century french farce, ‘The Game of Love and Chance’ by Pierre Marivaux, which touches on love, marriage, mistaken identity and class. Adapted by Nigel Planer, he reinvents Marivaux’s play in an Asian household in modern day Britain, interspersed with Bollywood dances.

Goldy Notay as Kamala-Ji, Rani’s mother and Sita’s aunt, delivers a fantastic performance. She laughs her way around the stage, a glass of prosecco always in hand. She is always in on everyone’s plots and plays along with glee. Kiren Jogi as Sita also delivers a lovely performance, warm, genuine and immediately likeable, and the cast as a whole work well together.

Amidst the farce, the play also starts some really interesting conversations about the part class has to play within relationships, the culture of arranged marriages, and how to reconcile being independent and being in love. However, restricted by the original, these issues are not sufficiently explored and the final conclusions of the play predominantly reinforce them.

The asides worked well, as if we the audience are each characters’ confidante, however they are sometimes unclear due to the pace the production has a tendency to move at. Frustratingly, the actors perform more towards the audience than each other, which makes the connections between characters onstage appear weaker. This particularly affects the chemistry (or lack of) between Raj and Rani. On the whole, the piece is quite one note. It is overly frenetic at points, and I think some of the humour of the text is actually lost in this. Whilst the writing is funny, the slapstick visual comedy we usually see in farce is predominantly missing here and in a genre which is heavily reliant on this element, the piece suffers because of it.

Performed by a strong cast, this is a fun and lively take on a traditional farce, contemporary, relevant and wittily reimagined, and a lovely way to spend an evening.


Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Simon Annand



The Game of Love and Chai

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch


Previously at this venue
The Rope | ★★★★ | Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch | February 2018


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