Bangalore Mirror | A King and his Jujubee

Make no mistake, Jujubee is a fun fest — for children and adults alike. Watching a children’s play in an auditorium with kids in abundance is an unmatched experience. This play comes to us from Perch (from Chennai) that brought us the superhit play Miss Meena [sic]. This is the first time that the troupe has worked on a play that is intended for a younger age group. If the reaction of the audience is any indication, then Jujubee is probably one of those rare plays that work brilliantly for everyone.

The Plot: The story unfolds much like any folk tale from South India. It uses south Indian lingo, phrases and words along with English in its rendition, adding warmth to the theatrical experience. An evil king called Idi-Minnal terrorises his land, called Rulampettai. Every full-moon night, he comes up with absurd rules that are bound to cause untold hardships to his subjects. Idi-Minnal has a faithful bird Jujubee, which in turn relays his rules to the people, turning his diktat into law. Things take a turn for the worse when subjects find themselves thrown into prison for the smallest slight and for not following the most absurd rules created by the king. And, that’s when three thieves decide to take the king head-on. They steal the golden egg laid by the Jujubee before it hatches. The egg finds itself in the hands of a young girl, whose father is now in prison thanks to the evil king. When the egg hatches, the first voice it hears — that of the young girl — becomes the voice that it will follow and listen to for life, thus rendering the king impotent.

How all this unfolds is played out excellently on stage by the three actors, Karunath Amarnath, Anand Sami and Srikrishna Dayal. Relying on both situational and slapstick comedy with a huge dose of superb live music and dance, the play is a riot of colours, images, words and action. The best part about the play is its interactive nature: puppets run through the audience, and the characters often engage the kids, eliciting some superb responses. The play is a big hit with children, simply because of its sincere approach in engaging young minds. Perch has performed Jujubee at various children’s festivals across the country, including The National School of Drama festival, and captivated the imagination of adults and children alike. It comes to Bangalore as part of Jagriti’s Summer Carnival.

Summer is almost over and so are the summer holidays, this might just be that large burst before the rains and school reopening. And what a burst it is. Get set to rock with Jujubee irrespective of whether you’re 3 years old or 100. It’s the kind of play that leaves adults grinning and kids screaming for more. Not to be missed.

Read as it appeared in Bangalore Mirror here.