Once again, another hilarious play from the Akvarious stable with some great writing and good performances to match. Set in an old damp hunting cabin, A Guy Thing is an unexpected plot of hilarious circumstances. Playing the odd couple, Mitch and Lino are hardly friends. In fact, they’re almost enemies with the short tempered and abusive Mitch playing a nightmarish host to his very timid and gentle guest, Lino.
The play quickly establishes the two characters as Lino dares to strum an old guitar, quickly putting it away at the sound of footsteps. Mitch storms in, soaked and frustrated and battling with an umbrella. As the plot unfolds, the hilarity of their predicament is as unexpected for us as it is embarrassing for Mitch, a veritable alpha male who doesn’t normally discuss his personal feelings. We soon find out that they’re not close friends, in fact, Mitch barely knows anything about Lino, but the internet has thrown them together and Mitch is unwittingly its latest prey.
Neil Bhoopalam plays Mitch, the angry young man who has recently split with his girlfriend of many years and is now staying in his father’s old and unused hunting cabin. From tearing an umbrella to shreds to making Lino get behind a dresser, Mitch’s character does very well to magnify the complexities of Lino’s calm and timid personality. Ali Fazal plays a smart, amiable and witty Lino who graciously indulges Mitch’s tantrums and outbursts. Also, Ali does a very good job with maintaining an ambiguity about Lino’s sexuality and reason for actually being at the cabin.
As the play progresses, each learns a bit about the other. How they met on the internet and what got them to be interested in each other. Mitch finds himself breaking the rules and actually talking about his feelings, his ex girlfriend and his life. Lino seems to be less of what we think he might be and more of a man who’s happy to be talking to someone face to face. The bad singing only makes the characters more endearing and real.
At first glance, the script does come across as a light comedy, but director Akarsh Khurana has done much more with the characters and their development, exploring their relationship in such a way that their personalities bring out the best and worst in each other.