Review: Second Generation

Vinith Bandari 10 March 2022
Image Credit: ADC Theatre

Disclaimer : this review is not by a second generation Brit but by a NRI(Non-resident Indian). Hell, that could be a sketch comedy show sometime!

Second Generations: Ice-cream Tubs and Tupperware. Boy, that’s a handful. I walked into this show and the people around me were from all over. I could hear a faint American accent to the polished Australian accent kicking in in the front. Something in common? This show catered to our garam masala/spice needs. The show was as promised – full of spice. Although not all of them came as surprises, the performers did a good job at performing the sketch pieces and were appealing to the Brown folks. Vidya Divakaran and the crew have to be commended for bringing the best blend of spices to the stage.

The performers were versatile with their different cultures and lavish accents. The sketch on Whatsapp forwards and South-asian tv misrepresentation hit home. The audience cheered throughout. The sketches had a wide range of topics to talk about, from the Mangoes to womanhood. It reflected the issues and lifestyles most Brown/BME people would relate to. The writing was strong enough with smart and witty takes on parents, beauty and fairness creams and hypocrisy in general. Some of the stand-out sketches were the Bedtime stories/retelling of classic fairy tales the brown way, the wedding reception (clever reveal of the bride and groom) and the final Tupperware clash/contest. The writing and the editing (Clancy Peiris Jr; Script Supervisor – Ayush Prasad) has to be credited with the show’s strong foundation and although the delivery wasn’t strong throughout, the flow of the sketches was seamless.

All the performers (Diya Shah, Abdullah Khan, Shivika Sharma, Thiviya Sivakanthan, Mithiran Ravindran) were brilliant but Channan Sangha and Beck Walker’s delivery was especially more energetic and witty. All of them did a great job and the stage presence didn’t feel overdone or cluttered at all. It would’ve been more fun to watch cultural shocks play on the stage and how that is something you face everyday in western culture. A bit more emphasis on the struggles of being from a different cultural background or being from lesser represented communities would’ve been commendable. The music was like cherry on the cake and amused the already lively audience with familiar numbers from top charts. Especially enjoyed how the music ranged from late 90s to recent chartbusters. The lighting was slightly off at times but it didn’t have a major effect on the show’s outcome or performance.

For a late night show, Second Gen was a refreshing and entertaining theatre experience. There were very few awkward pauses and the audience was quite supportive of the performers. From our obsession with academics to tupperware, the show respectfully used all the stereotypes possible. It was quite unexpected when a girl of Caucausian background was called on stage and eventually titled the winner of the beauty pageant, this spoke more about the ingrained obsession our families have towards our lighter skinned peers or friends. Although, they do try their best to shield us from their ‘indecencies’/ Western culture and retain our own family values and public image. This might be reading too much into the lighter gags but we do love to overthink, don’t we?

This was hands down one of the best comedy shows I’ve seen this term. The familiarity and context to the jokes helped me laugh harder and so did the audience. The sketches were slightly targeted at a Second gen Brown/SouthAsian audience and some of the references were even hard for me to get. I was still convinced of the delivery with the audience’s echoing laughter especially when referencing the South Asian representation in British politics. Being a ‘proper’ Indian, I’m still used to more spices and surprise and this play left me wanting for more. The whole vibe reminded me of 5 pm Chai Nashta/ Snacks back in my Undergrad university. The only thing missing was Momos and red spicy chilli chutney. Nevertheless, Second Generation delivers what it promises and with more maska(butter) than we ask for!

4.5/5 Stars.