DON’T DRINK THE WATER

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Somehow Woody Allen’s wacky cold-war comedy, Don’t Drink the Water, doesn’t fetch as many laughs now that the Iron Curtain has been raised for good. Prime Time Foundation (Delhi) appears to have backed the wrong Broadway war-horse, which has run its historical course and sounds pretty dated now.

But even if we did set our minds back in a time machine, the Spandan-sponsored show at Birla Sabhagar on December 6 exposed grave theatrical errors. Poor stage management, bad timing, inarticulate speech, missed cues and fumbled lines painted a sorry picture of Lillete Dubey’s directorial abilities. This reviewer recalls a superior production of the same play done by Saturday Club three years ago: that may have been just an amateur enterprise, but this was a rank amateurish one.

Among the main actors, Doordarshan newscaster Bhaskar Bhattacharji and Sanjoy Roy display some natural talent. Bhattacharji plays the captive caterer enthusiastically, though he obviously has no clue about how to self-parody his character’s Jewish ethnicity as Allen always does. Roy looks and behaves the part of the one-man disaster zone in whose hands the US Embassy has been placed. Most of the others remain stereotyped caricatures.

(From The Telegraph, 28 December 1993)