Months of rehearsals by the CADAS Kids have paid off with a heart-warming musical to entertain Cooamundra in mid-winter.
At the opening performance in Cootamundra Town Hall last night the audience filled nearly half the seats - a good turn-out for a Thursday night - and gave rapturous applause at the end of the three-act show.
Strong performances were put in by all the main characters, in particular the Australian family and the "Indian connection".
The only actor who wasn't a "kid" - Marianne McInerney - put in a brilliant performance as Grandma Tan.
McInerney was also the only actor with an Indian accent, and spoke it so well and so consistently that you would swear she had spoken English like that all her life.
As the bossy but endearing matriarch she was introduced to the audience putting the guilts on her son - Dr Bandhu Tanwar played by Justin Sheedy - for marrying an Australian girl, instead of coming back to India after his studies and marrying a good Indian girl like he was supposed to.
Also, like a certain kind of grandma you'll find everywhere around the world, she was ultraprotective of her loungeroom furniture, especially her cushions from Jaipur which, with their bright orange colour, surfaced again and again during the show, a very effective theatrical device.
Caitlin Horsburgh was convincingly responsible and pragmatic as Lara Tanwar, the mother of Rohana (Madi Robinson) and Aidi (Lachlan Nalder).
The children were uprooted from their school to spend an extended holiday with their doctor father back in his homeland, meeting their Indian family and learning fast about Indian culture as they experienced different environments such as the market place, cricket matches, jewelry shops, and of course Bollywood.
Dr Tanwar's sister, Aunt Geeta (Trysta Willoughby) also emerged well as a character, very credible as a new-generation Indian woman with a successful career as a film producer, dynamic and enthusiastic and keen to see that her niece and nephew enjoyed their holidays.
Madi Robinson's Rohana seemed to grow before our eyes, not all that keen about having to go to India in the first place, but convinced by her Australian classmates that it was much better than a holiday in Stockinbingal and quickly warming to all things Indian, especially when introduced to their guide for the duration, Prahdi (Joran Beath).
The remainder of the cast - too numerous to mention here - did brilliantly in taking up numerous roles during the show, including school friends, airport and train passengers, people in street scenes, kings and wives in Indian myths and legend, beggars and film producers and cast.
The choreography was highly disciplined, with sometimes what seemed like 20 people on stage all knowing exactly where they were going and miraculously not bumping into each other despite quite intricate pathways - and the dance and singing was enhanced by plenty of colour and movement - especially the spectacular full-cast, high-energy finale.
To ginger up the script there were a few local references, such as the Stockinbingal holiday destination and buying clothes at Jack + Jill.
Set, costumes, lighting were great and the cuppa and slice at interval delicious - all in all don't miss it!
Tickets $20 (children $10) from Jack + Jill or at the door, show starts 7pm.