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Kiss the Fish, Opera House

By Jarrod 4 Jul 2014

kiss the fish

Kiss the Fish - the latest work from Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis’ Indian Ink Theatre Company - tells the story of a family of rice farmers, who find themselves at odds with one another when a tourism developer sets his sights on their tiny island.

Family patriarch Bapa (Rajan) and his children Sidu (James Roque) and Lakshimi (Nisha Madhan) eke out a subsistence living on Karukam Island, until resort entrepreneur Kingsley (also Rajan) offers to buy their rice farm in order to access their water rights for his hotel. While Sidu and Lakshimi are overwhelmed by the unimaginable sum Kingsley offers, Bapa is less impressed, and refuses to sell. Nevertheless, his children are confident they can eventually win him over…

Kiss the Fish uses mask, music, puppetry and comedy to tell a deceptively domestic tale that doubles as a modern fable about the impact of capitalism and perhaps colonialism. The performers all wear hand-carved Balinese masks, simultaneously beautiful and grotesque; each character, almost by necessity, becomes a larger-than-life caricature at the masks’ behest.

By now Rajan is an old hand at this; he inhabits five different characters so seamlessly and convincingly you could almost imagine they’re played by different actors. Equally impressive, however, is Julia Croft, who plays multiple roles, sings, and acts as a puppeteer.

Almost upstaging them all is the one performer who never leaves the stage - Dave Ward, the show’s musician (and also composer and musical director), and pretty much a character in his own right. Ward’s compositions are a perfect fit for Kiss the Fish, and his contribution to the work is such that you kind of wish more theatre included live music in this manner.

Kiss the Fish (Indian Ink)

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