Theatre review – ‘A Small Family Business’ – A failed business!


Mumbai theatre seemed to be the most badly hit during the pandemic. So, the invitation to review The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) latest offering was a breath of fresh air. The play is in association with Akvarious Productions presents, ‘A Small Family Business’. Written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by Adhaar Khurana, the play is a twisted comedy based on a life of an honest man, Samson Sequeira, and his not-so-honest family.

A brief synopsis:

The play depicts the life of Samson Sequeira, a misfit—a man of principle in a corrupt world. A mild-mannered Goan Christian married into a boisterous Punjabi business family in Delhi. Samson’s father-in-law decides to entrust the family business to him. Moments after he takes on the mantle, Samson is approached by a private investigator armed with some compromising information. And this is only the beginning of his troubles.

Star Cast of the play:

Digvijay Savant, Lucky Vakharia, Vikash Khurana, Preetika Chawla, Abhishek Saha, Vrinda Kacker, Keith Sequeira, Kalliroi Tziafeta, Lisha Bajaj, Kashin Shetty, Tanushri Jain, Tahira Nath, Jeh Alexander & Sarthak Kakar.

Read the book – Mumbai’s Top 10 Theatre Plays

Script review:

The play is re-written and adapted by writer Akarsh Khurana. Although the original play written by Alan Ayckbourn has won appreciation, this one falls flat on its face. Somehow, Akarsh Khurana has failed to evoke the laughs from the audiences. The fleshing out of the 13 ensemble characters takes too long. The punches are hardly anything that make the evening interesting.

The theatre audiences look for two things which entices them to visit a theatre auditorium – it’s either the theatrical histrionics or an out-and-out entertainer. This one has neither of them. The first twenty minutes are pure-boredom. The punches are humour sets in a bit post the interval, but the complete package of an entertainer loaded with a message is lacking.

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Production values:

An impressive set, immaculate and effectively utilised. However, there were instances where the lighting played hooky in the initial few minutes.

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Direction review:

Director Adhaar Khurana has skilfully managed the ensemble cast. The split-second timing of the scene change, the fine nuances added to each character’s mannerisms are note-worthy.

However, the nail in the coffin was the scene once the play is over. The actors did take a bow to the audience, but no announcements about the credits for the actors or the play were given. We have seen plays having multiple shows on the same day but always the final shot is given perfectly with smiling faces. Seems quite amateurish that such a glorious moment is ignored or side-lined.

Acting review:

Every actor has performed to the best of their abilities and in lieu of the characterization for the role they play. Two characters which added the extra punch to their roles were the actors who played ‘Bindu Rampal’ and of course ‘Anita’. The manner in which these actors bloomed and showed their true potential is exemplary.

The script is always considered to be the KING. This play surely falls flat thanks to a weak script that failed to entertain.



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