I can see why Bombay Black directed by Rohit Chokani won Pick of the Fringe last year. Although the setting doesn’t really stray from a home in India, this 2 hour production at the Firehall Arts Centre takes you on a journey through it’s characters, with it's twists and turns. A mother doing her best to make ends meet with the only resource she has, her beautiful dancing daughter, and a visitor.
Not being familiar with playwright Anosh Irani’s original from 2006, I can’t speak to the director’s change of making the visitor to their home blind. However I definitely appreciated the sensory exploration that he took us on. The mother-daughter relationship was also an intriguing one with the struggle between control, dependency and love. What surprised me the most was the amount of humour in the first act and that they even managed to sprinkle some in to the second act for a performance that was overall quite dark. This was mostly in part to Nimet Kanji’s exquisite performance as the mother who had me laughing in moments and whom I abhorred the next.
Perhaps not for younger audiences with content sexual in nature, it is however an entertaining evening out for those looking for some suspense and mystery but with some light laughs to balance it out.
Bombay Black is playing at the Firehall Arts Centre until 15 December 2018. Tickets at: http://firehallartscentre.ca/onstage/bombay-black/
~ reviewed by Karen Roller
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