Kauffman and Hart's deliciously mischievous adaptation of the life of Alexander Wolcot comes alive as Jiten Merchant assembles a talented cast of theatre professionals. The play originally swept American audiences in 1939 and has since received varying degrees of success all over the literary world.
The play introduces us to Sheridan Whiteside, a man whose immense reputation as a radio personality is only surpassed by his excruciatingly sardonic temperament. After a minor domestic accident, he is confined to the residence of Mr Stanley. Much to the latter's disapproval, Whideside subsequently blackmails his way into the house and turns it into an interim base for his nefarious operations by inviting his friends and animals into their home. Despite his precarious position as the unwanted houseguest, Whideside continues to interfere in the affairs of all his affiliates and acquaintances till such a time as he is deemed healthy by his personal physician.
Although Whideside's character remains the focus of the performance, the cast corroborates his effectiveness in their own unique and individual circumstances. Soli Marker is brilliantly versatile in his dual roles of Mr Stanley and Professor Metz, while Erol Sequeira's jovial representation of Banjo is a perfect corollary to Whiteside's overbearing tone. Gerson da Chuna's crisp characterisation of Sheridan Whiteside stands aside as a monolith of hilarity amidst the talented cast. The performance is punctuated with Whiteside's unpredictable temperament and sardonic tongue, which plague the residents of the house during the season of goodwill and cheer.This article was first published on 15 Jan 2001.