Indian ‘Ink’redible [by Sharu Delilkan]
When my husband Tim and I moved here almost 10 years ago Krishnan’s Dairy was the first live theatre show we saw. It not only left an indelible memory of theatre at its best but it was one of the key motivations why we decided to stay in New Zealand. Having come from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong we did not know whether there would be enough around to satisfy us as culture vultures. Indian Ink Theatre Company’s original ingenious production allayed those fears and made us feel we could live here and make a go of it.
So going to see the show this time around was an experience that was approached with much excitement but tinged with trepidation. ‘What if I don’t like it as much as I did the first time?’ I thought to myself. Also I was a little dubious about spoiling the sweet memory in case my taste had changed a decade later.
But I must admit that the minute the house lights went down and Jacob Rajan and musician David Ward started strumming on stage all the fabulous warm fuzzies I felt a decade ago came flooding back.
Perfect Theatrical Blend [by James Wenley]
The Guru of Chai brews his tea to perfection, carefully measuring the exact combination of herbs and spices. It is an art that simmers through this play. He’s unappreciated at his stall, plagued by Starbucks. We don’t get to sample his tea, but I’ll wager this: He’s an even better storyteller.
And really, that credit is to Indian Ink’s Justin Lewis and Jacob Rajan, who distill their storytelling to an exact perfection. I was first transported by the Guru’s tale in 2010 at the University of Auckland Drama Studio, home base of dramaturge Murray Edmond, when they were first previewing their new work (following Krishnan’s Dairy, the Candlestick Maker, The Pickle King, and The Dentist’s Chair) to small and appreciative audiences; they also took the play into people’s private homes. After a NZ tour and bigger season at the Maidment Theatre last year, they have recently gone overseas with the show to places such as Singapore, LA, Tennesse and Sydney. With many theatre productions flash of the pan stuff, it is remarkably rewarding to revisit the show for its Q Theatre season (a proud achievement for Lewis, who helped shepherd Q’s existence). Chai has had time to breathe and to grow richer.