Rating: 3.5 stars
Verdict: Laced with satire, Bottoms Up is a laugh riot.
There are very few musicals in India that have stood the test of time like Bottoms Up has. With a snazzy sketch-show style appeal, the show won over hearts when it was staged back in the ’80s. Almost 25 years down the line, it is amazing to see how the musical still connects with its audience. The magic is in the way the show talks about relevant issues. From politics to education to news, literally no one is spared.
The night opened to a packed auditorium at NCPA, with everybody excited to catch the grand re-opening. And boy, was it grand! The show opened with its creator, Bharat Dabholkar stepping out to pay a special tribute to revered cartoonist RK Laxman, who recently passed away. After that, once the madness began, it did not fade away till the very end. With a modern theme music and a superb stage, the play has advanced both in terms of content and technicality.
The show immediately reminds one of Saturday Night Live, which itself is famous for its tongue-in-cheek style of humor. Zero cuss words are used, but the message comes across nonetheless. The production also uses innovative methods for some set-pieces, which included a LED screen on-stage. The musical has some snappy tunes, some of which are parodied with hilarious effects. It successfully acts a mouthpiece to address the current scenarios in the country by looking at them from a different perspective. The set design, though minimalist, uses innovative props and the costumes are also brilliant. Keep in mind, that for a sketch-style musical such as this, costume changes happen after almost every scene. And being able to pull that off is itself a huge feat.
The plot is rife with sexual innuendo, resulting in hilarious capers. Of the entire cast, veterans like Kunal Vijaykar, Anant Mahadevan and Bharat Dabholkar get the most laughs, thanks to their superb comic timing. Despite a few technical glitches, the present-mindedness of the actors ensured that there wasn’t a single dull moment.
Why you should watch this play?
Bottoms Up is grand in scope and offers pure unadulterated laughs. The actors give their all and have great timing to get the message across. The musical numbers are catchy, and the dance pieces are exquisite. If you like to laugh at politics and are a fan of satire, do make it a point to catch the next staging of the show.
Here’s what the audience who attended the show had to say: