Krishnan's Dairy

by Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis
music by David Ward
Indian Ink Theatre Company and the Singapore Repertory Theatre
DBS Arts Centre, Singapore

Some 15 years since its premiere, Krishnan's Dairy, the show that launched New Zealand's Indian Ink Theatre Company, still has an enduring appeal. A tight, one-man performance by actor and writer Jacob Rajan about immigrant life and domestic love - both intimate and epic - Krishnan's Dairy works so well because it has something for everyone, regardless of one's background. 

Rajan uses masks and mime to great effect, conjuring up two beautifully realized characters: gregarious, penny-pinching shopkeeper Gobi and his taciturn and cheeky wife Zina as they navigate the tumultuous immigrant world of New Zealand at their corner store. A simple change of mask, voice and gestures allows Rajan to transition from one character to the next. Accompanied by the excellent music and sound effects of musician David Ward, the world of Gobi and Zina is brought to vivid life with minimal props. It is a masterful performance, full of humour, honesty and empathy. One cannot help but smile throughout. 

Krishnan's Dairy also weaves in the story of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal as a memorial for his beloved wife Mumtaz and there is a beautiful, bittersweet symmetry in the two tales - the wife is left alone in one story, the husband in another but the love they have for each other lives on. My eyes grew moist towards the end which is both tragic but heartwarming.

A true testament to the power of live theatre, Krishnan's Dairy reminds us how little it takes to achieve magic on the stage. 
The Crystalwords score: 8/10


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