Hindu Times is a new play from Jaimini Jethwa and the latest in The Lyceum and Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Sound Stage series. We meet Lakshmi, who is hosting a party but pure pissed off because they’ve run out of booze. Vince and Barry pitch up on the megabus from Dunfermline and tag along with her to her (sort of) dad’s SPAR to borrow some extra supplies. They get locked in. And in amongst the Red Kola, sour milk and coke, we learn that Vince (Adam McNamara) has a bit of an eye for Lakshmi (Rehanna MacDonald) – but does she remember the last night they had together?
So far, so Saturday night. Though as Barry (Daniel Portman) reminds Vince, rule number one in Dundee: “no ridin’ and bidin’”. But Jethwa’s script has all sorts of surprises in store. Vince and Barry are no ordinary street-smart, adidas-clad party lovers, we learn, before we’re plunged into a colourful stramash of Hindu stories with more than a dollop of the divine.
Jethwa’s script is great fun. Delivered in broad Dundonian, the dialogue bristles with boisterous attitude. At the same time, Jon Nicholls’ sound design points up all of the lyrical beauty in the late-night eternal love story. This is an audio production, yet the design and Caitlin Skinner’s direction are so artfully done that you can almost imagine yourself squished into the cramped aisles of the corner shop, riffling through the Hubba Bubba.
While it might take a wee while to tune into the pacy dialogue at the outset, ultimately this story sweeps you up – out of the SPAR – into a riotous ritual involving serpents, the aforementioned sour milk, tortoises, and more than a wee toot. The gods are living it up in Dundee and they’re having a ball. As one of the characters notes, “Dundee is not like anywhere else. You have to get wasted to cope wi’ it.”
But alongside the IRN-BRU and OVD Rum is a message of hope. Lakshmi doesn’t have all that many options in her out-of-control, gate-crashed party life but is still reluctant to change it. Central to Hinduism is the belief that there’s something of Brahma in all of us. Suddenly, Jethwa’s notion that the gods have landed in Dundee seems a little less zany; instead, it serves as a reminder that we all have the ability to listen, learn from each other and be kind.