LAHORE: Catch a Chain, staged at the Ali Auditorium, failed to make an impression notwithstanding brilliant performances by the lead actors.
The two-act play reflecting upon dark humour among four inmates, deals with their insecurities, love for life and inability to trust others.
The play opens with Edward Black, William Conrad and Thomas, who are later joined by a fourth inmate Alex Donavan.
Thomas does not trust Alex’s easy manners. He cautions his friends that Alex has been planted amidst them for a purpose.
Alex continues to inspire confidence and Edward Black, a rather nervous person, confesses to his crime before Alex.
The confession is followed by Alex’s exposure as a secret agent and Edward’s conviction and sentence for him in prison.
The second act of the play opens with William Conrad sitting nervously. Disturbed by Alex’s betrayal and his friend’s conviction, he attempts escape stealing a security guard’s pistol but is killed in the efforts.
One of the main problems in the play is the lights. The other is the husky music. It also goes overboard in an attempt to marry humour with suspense.
The curtains close and open unnecessarily several times, giving the play an unsettled feel. In the concluding scene Edward and Thomas are seen weeping over the former’s imprisonment and William’s killing.
Syed Ijlal Naqvi and Omar Farooq Nazir, seen in characters of Thomas and Edward Black, received applause for their acting skills. Upon getting off the stage, the two also talked about their experience of writing the play as well as their time rehearsing.
“The idea of playing inmates occurred different,” said Naqvi. “We had put in our best efforts to give something to the audience that they can remember and cherish forever,” he added.
Performances of Waleed Akhtar Zaidi and Awaiz Azhar, playing Willian Conrad and Thomas, were also well received. The two guards – Amanda and Sally – were played, respectively, by Ghazal Tahir and Resham Naqvi.
The play was a co-production of the Elysium entertainment and the B Theatre Group.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2010.