Designed and directed by Mahesh Dattani, Ashwin Gidwani Productions put up a solid performance of Paulo Coelho’s best seller, O Alquimista (The Alchemist) at St Andrews Auditorium, Mumbai. Playing to a packed auditorium, the adaptation was something to rave about as it managed to squeeze as much of the book in under two hours, with a rich score, innovative stage sets, and some very able actors.

For those not acquainted with the story, The Alchemist is about Santiago, an Andalusian boy who wants to follow his dream of travelling to the Egyptian pyramids in search of a treasure. He leaves his home in Spain, journeying the markets of Tangiers and the deserts of Egypt, making acqaintances and learning about life, until he meets the Alchemist, who guides him towards his destiny.

The Alchemist, incidentally, is one of the best selling books in history and the most-translated book (71 languages) by a living author, having sold more than 65 million copies around the globe since written in 1988.

Asif Ali Beg and Tarun Singh Negi portray Santiago (present and past) effortlessly, while Mohan Kapoor does well as the mysterious and swarthy Alchemist. The lads playing the tribesmen in the desert also deserve a mention for the convincing accent.

The Alchemist will be on stage again on August 9, 2009 at NCPA Tata, Mumbai.

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