On and around the stage since age 7, Phil has been on nearly every side of it, both professional and amateur. He has been involved in over 100 productions, from major corporate and government events to playing an on-stage prop in a walk-on role.
Howzat is a spectacle of undelivered potential. This play with intelligently written moments, an outstanding cast, and highly relevant material, falls flat.
I say potential though because I suspect it will improve vastly over the next shows. Many of the issues I saw (particularly: dragging pace, missed cues, dead lighting spots, low energy) will likely be addressed. The performances and characters are there, the material is ripe (though with juxtaposingly clichéd moments and blatant stereotypes), and the setting is right.
Other issues, particularly in direction and script, will remain, but should likely be less noticeable with punchier moments and corrected pacing.
Go if you enjoy a simple, lighthearted comedy.
There are many types of audiences, and the less critical audience will definitely enjoy this one. It has many enjoyable moments and local references that make it fun even in its weaker, eye-rolling moments. The Sub-Continental crowd will find much to enjoy as well with many cultural and political references that make the whole play a constant in-joke (but not outside of the comprehension of non-Desi crowds.)
The regular theater going audience may enjoy this one less though. You have to be ready to just sit back and enjoy, because viewing this through a critical lens won’t be nearly as enjoyable.
Our full review and final verdict will be out after the play finishes. Lamya will be there tonight and I look forward to a discussing (arguing?) with her about this one in an extended review.