Australian Festival of South Asian Arts, PARRAMASALA, presents LONG LIVE THE KING written and performed by Ansuya Nathan, at Jubilee Hall, the Town Hall, Parramatta.
LONG LIVE THE KING is a solo performance piece written and performed by Australian actress Ansuya Nathan. It tells the story of Ms Nathan's parents and their emigration to Adelaide from India to begin a new life. It concerns the pre-birth and birth of a baby girl and the parallel fascination with the mother's, Meena's, obsession with The King, Elvis Presley, and his music - what a nirvana it did provide!!!
August 16, 1977 - a momentous day. The King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, dies and a young Indian couple touches down in Australia, Adelaide ... these two seemingly unrelated events are brought together in a funny, poignant and powerful tale of motherhood, music and migration...The writing in this work is easy (if, occasionally a little over-written) and fluid. It demands that the actor shift from one character to another swiftly, of both sexes, of many ages and of different race. Ms Nathan achieves this with aplomb and great charm and skill. The differences of characterisation is sometimes merely by a gesture of body and/or voice intonation. Other times, it is a costume and wig change, on stage, and does involve impersonation of the King himself. There is humour, pathos and wisdom and a little music in the work and its execution.
On the same basic stage that THE TROUBLE WITH ASIAN MEN, is performed on, under the direction of Guy Materson, with a myriad of light and sound cues, Ms Nathan, transforms the space and takes us vitally to all the worlds and people that she conjures up to tell her tale. LONG LIVE THE KING is an affecting tale because it is so personal, and must, does reflect, some of the complications of being a stranger in a new land. An ideal find for this South Asian Festival in Parramatta. As is Ms Nathan, with her abundance of skills, intelligence and theatrical charm.
Here, the organisers have got it right. An authentic Australian talent of South Asian heritage talking for and to her cultures. It is a most satisfying hour. Even the humid venue disappeared. Time stood still. Although, the extra effort for the performer, in this relatively hostile venue, must be part of the cost of the effort.
LONG LIVE THE KING, worth the 9 o'clock start. Wait. Go and be charmed.