Evaluate | ‘A Good Indian Boy’ is a meet-the-parents comedy that’s too acquainted


In a telling second in “A Good Indian Boy,” the humorous however creaky and infrequently stunning comedy at Olney Theatre Heart, a long-married Indian American lady is requested about her love for her husband. Does her coronary heart beat quicker when she thinks of him?

The lady, Megha Gavaskar, is flummoxed by the query. “What? No!” she retorts. Lynette Rathnam — this manufacturing’s ace card as Megha — endows her character’s brusque response with hilarious wariness. Then Megha elaborates: When her ideas flip to her partner, her coronary heart “generally … grows greater,” she says.

Intoxicating romance. Much less precipitous affection that steadily builds. Madhuri Shekar’s 2014 play weighs and counterposes these two concepts of affection whereas spooning out a story of household, custom, generational tradition conflict and meals.

Representing heart-palpitating romance is the principle storyline: the eagerness of Megha’s son Naveen (Carol Mazhuvancheril) for his boyfriend, Keshav (Noah Israel), a fellow Hindu who occurs to be Caucasian. In distinction to their son’s enchantment, the love between Megha and her husband, Archit (Abhimanyu Katyal), has grown since their conventional Indian, seemingly organized marriage.

When Naveen brings Keshav to fulfill his household at their Bay Space house with out having sufficiently ready them, problems ensue in a fashion that echoes many rom-coms, with a contact of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Director Zi Alikhan retains the proceedings energetic, not least with a smashing dance sequence choreographed by Ambika Raina, additionally the present’s affiliate director. And Frank Oliva’s set, centered on a naturalistic kitchen, is laden with ingenious reveals as joyous because the dancing.

Archit, a proficient prepare dinner, typically busies himself in that kitchen, listening broodingly to close by conversations. Within the position, Katyal radiates slow-waters-run-deep depth. Nevertheless it’s Rathnam who actually buoys the story, displaying impeccable comedian timing whereas revealing Megha’s willpower and customary sense. When Megha does a double tackle listening to Keshav communicate Hindi, the elated look in her eyes is priceless.

Mazhuvancheril offers Naveen a candy nerdiness, and Israel exhibits the vulnerability in Keshav, who has embraced the tradition of his Indian adoptive dad and mom. The character of Naveen’s sister Arundhathi, as written, is extra thematic gadget than character — her marriage considerably resembles her dad and mom’ — and actress Jessica Jain hasn’t transcended that limitation.

The extensively produced Shekar, described in her bio as an Indian playwright and screenwriter from California, has invested “Good Indian Boy” with bracing specificity — discuss of recipes, Hindu beliefs, the Bollywood blockbuster “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” and extra — and a shifting appreciation for identification and heritage. However on the plot degree, the play is much less profitable.

In contrast to in Shekar’s “In Love and Warcraft,” a romantic comedy produced regionally by No Guidelines Theatre Firm in 2015, the narrative twists and rhythms in “Good Indian Boy” really feel shopworn and predictable. Rom-coms and sunny meet-the-parents yarns could objectively be predictable, in fact, however they shouldn’t unremittingly really feel that manner.

A Good Indian Boy by Madhuri Shekar. Directed by Zi Alikhan; costume design, Danielle Preston; lighting, Emma Deane; sound, Kenny Neal. About 100 minutes. Tickets: $54-$79. By April 9 at Olney Theatre Heart, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney. 301-924-3400. olneytheatre.org

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