Writer-director Meherzad Patel’s latest stage offering, The Buckingham Secret, couldn’t have made its debut at a better time. After all, the British Royal Family is once again in the news, with Prince William and Kate expecting their second child, the new royal baby!
Coming to the play, as the title suggests, it tells the story of the illustrious Royal Family, who have been making headlines around the world for decades now. But while we usually get to see the majestic and appropriate side of royalty, have you ever wondered what they are like at home, behind those enormous palace gates? Are they like any other family? The play attempts to show you just that, albeit with a hilarious twist. Spoilers ahead.
According to this fictitious story, somewhere down the bloodline, the British Royal family was ‘compromised’ with a Parsi heir, and so, the current generation of monarchs —from Queen Elizabeth to Prince Harry — are actually Parsis! This also includes everyone who marries into the family. No one, except the trusted royal butler (who is also a Bawa) knows that the British family is actually a closeted Parsis family, with all their eccentricities in place.
The audience gets to witness what happens behind the closed doors of the palace and naturally, it’s good fun to see the Queen Elizabeth bickering in Parsi-Gujarati with hubby Prince Philip, or Diana reveal she is as Bawi as can be. Of all the characters, it’s Prince Philip who steals the show because just like the real-like duke, he too is mischievous and provides the best gags.
Apart from the original writing, what makes this play such a delight to watch is the visual treat that is gives its viewers. A play about British monarchs would fall flat without royal costumes and a befitting set. Bollywood set designer Fali Unwalla has brilliantly recreated the grandeur of the Buckingham Palace on stage, with revolving sets and full marks to the costume team too.
Frankly speaking, with a fun script, excellent production values and authentic Parsi star cast, there isn’t much to complain about. Even if you aren’t a Parsi, you will have fun watching this play. But if you are a Parsi, this one’s a cultural feast.
Director: Meherzad Patel Duration: 120 minutes Cast: Sabira Merchant, Danesh Irani, Nauheed Cyrusi, Azmin Mistry and others Language: English