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BWW Review: A BRIMFUL OF ASHA Delights at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre

Written by a mother-son duo, this remarkable true story is beautifully brought to life onstage

BWW Review: A BRIMFUL OF ASHA Delights at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre

Ravi and his mother Asha need your help to settle a dispute: should he hold out for Ms. Right or let his conservative Indian parents take charge of the search? Based on a remarkable true story by the mother-son duo in question, A Brimful of Asha is both riveting and thought provoking, brimming with comedic anecdotes while providing a thoughtful exploration of culture. As the first installment of the Citadel Theatre's Horizon Series, the production abides by social distancing measures while encouraging audiences to once more experience live theatre.

At the heart of this family drama is Ravi Jain (Adolyn H. Dar), a gregarious Indian-Canadian university grad who dreams of starting his own theatre company. From the moment he literally dances onto the stage, Dar endears himself to the audience as a driven yet hapless millennial skirting the fringes of two cultures. It is impossible not to smile as he plunges headfirst into Ravi's riveting anecdotes, weaving in physical comedy and impressions of various family members.

As Asha, Nimet Kanji is truly a force to be reckoned with. Whether engaging in razor-sharp banter or tearfully relaying her character's hopes and fears, she exhibits a commanding stage presence while exuding an almost palpable affection for her onstage son and native Indian culture. Together, Kanji and Dar breathe life into this mother-son relationship, painting a familial picture so realistic that you might just have to remind yourself that they are not, in fact, related.

The drama plays out against a minimal but evocative backdrop consisting of a warmly-lit dining room laden with a welcoming spread of chai and mangos. Designed by Elise CM Jason, the set incorporates a lofty screen portraying everything from cozy dining room decor to Bollywood movie snippets to the pink city of Jaipur, complementing the Jains' stories. Coupled with Patrick Beagan's emotive lighting design, the play crafts the successful illusion of visiting a family home instead of experiencing it from afar.

If you're looking to escape the chilly fall weather, drop by the Citadel Theatre to visit the Jains! They are happily accepting guests until November 15.

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