Review by Danny Gaisin
Our personal interest in South Asia and its peoples are two-fold; a ‘Blood brother’ born in Calcutta; and surprisingly; regular interested readers from that area checking out our O.A.R. articles! An invitation from the Matin family of Upper Mt. Albion tweaked our curiosity and we were attendees at the spring Festival of South Asia. Nepal; Bhutan; Sri Lanka & Maldives joined the more familiar Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in presenting a cultural collage of dance, culture and especially food.
The venue was Sir Allan McNab Secondary School’s auditorium. There were some very noticeable impressions, mostly positive, about the evening. The incorporation of extremely young performers, with agility and terpsichorean talent mirroring their more mature counterparts; the amazingly colourful costumes & dress; the emphasis on synchronization and the hand/foot/posture incorporation seems endemic to the genre. As a self-declared judge of beauty; the females of South Asia are absolutely gorgeous!
Considering stage management, blocking seemed totally absent. The curtain became a hazard oftimes leaving one or more of the performers in front on closing and then unable to find the opening… funny to see; embarrassing for the recitalists. Another faux-pas; the between-act M.C.ing was haphazard. Cues were mixed as were their entry/exits.
The food was varied and we were fortunate to have some of the other diners offer suggestions and caveats. Terry enjoyed her lentil dish, while I was especially fond of a milk-based crepe item. Unfortunately, we missed getting the names of the dishes, nor recipes thereof. Our seatmates were Hamilton’s Deputy Chief of Police and two amazingly stupefying beautiful young women from Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon). Obviously the island at the tip of the Indian Peninsula has been producing more exportable product than just tea! Viva multiculturalism!