Magical musical fantasy for children at Kingdom of Dreams
Gurgaon: There are witches dressed up as blood-sucking bats, sniffing and reaching out to pounce on their prey - children. Then there is a magic potion, talking piano and vase and an ample dose of song and dance in this musical drama that comes with the social message -"victory of good over evil".
This is the third and latest production of live entertainment destination Kingdom of Dreams who launched the magical musical fantasy "Wizwits" for children and families to celebrate their 4th anniversary here Tuesday.
It was staged at their newly opened venue - ShowShaa Theatre, a 250-space auditorium, but an apt space to transport the audience into a wonderland.
The production values, as expected, recreate a fantasy on stage. It has been adapted for stage from "The Witches", a story by British novelist and short story writer Roald Dahl.
Theatre artists Lushin Dubey and Bubbles Sabharwal, who have directed and scripted the show, have juxtaposed western elements with everyday Indian sentiments, so much so that if on the one hand we have the peppy and popular song "Who Let the Dog's Out" for the witches, on the other the mother of the children in the play dons the garb of a Delhi woman - loud and stylish.
The story telling is simple and interactive with songs and dance making an appearance every now and then. There are no conflicts to create confusion and conversations are mostly in English, though Hindi too finds its way in, in bits and pieces.
The story begins at the Poo Poo Hotel. It is this strange place where each object springs to life at just one touch. So we have the 'piano man' who plays by itself, the 'lady vase' whose arms are always in motion and an affable Mr. Kake and his wife Sunita who are at the reception.
But it is this hotel where ugly, funny and scary wizards and witches - Wizwits - are holding there annual meeting. And it is the same time when a mother arrives at the hotel with a group of children.
Then begins a saga where witches dance and scare, sniff and play. They turn some of the children into mice and plan to kill them. But a few children with the help of the hotel owners overpower these witches and kill them. And they also change the mice into children again by pouring a magic potion they had snatched from the witches into a drum, along with the mice.
They manage to rescue the children!
Even though, the performances are overshadowed by too much dance and drama and overpowering technology - LED backdrop walls, side wings, LED framed walls that transform the entire ambience into different settings, Dubey feels an "opportunity" like this enhances the essence of production.
"In India we have this tendency to deny the power of technology. We believe that less is very good. But when I have the privilege to utilise this technology, why not marry theatre aesthetics with technology," Dubey said.
Admitting that this production is a grand departure from her own signature directorial graph - minimalistic production - she says the objective was to make children "fearless" and lay out a red carpet for them.
It is the third in the series of stage shows produced by Kingdom of Dreams after Bollywood musicals ‘Zangoora: The Gypsy Prince’ and ‘Jhumroo - Jhoomo Nacho Gao’.
Delhi-based designer Nida Mahmood has designed the costumes for this show and it won't be wrong to say that her trademark, pop and funky play with colours, comes alive on the stage.
But it is the witches who steal the show with their energetic performance, voice modulation, brilliant make-up and not-to-forget their neon-pink bat flaps and attire.