Pakistani 50 shades of grey

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Peerzada Salman

The good, and fun, thing about improv theatre, or improvisation in any form of art, is that there is an element of spontaneity in it which even when it’s not performed well doesn’t come across as laboured.

Theatre group LoL Waaley’s show that they put up on Thursday night as part of the fourth National Academy of Performing Arts Theatre Festival was one such effort. It was in-your-face (in a nice way), it was irreverent (to a tolerable extent), it was funny, and despite the fact that the transitions sometimes broke the momentum of the goings-on, it kept the audience glued to their seats and in stitches.

To be honest, the format of the show was like that of TV programme Who’s line is it anyway. Actors are given a situation, asked to assume multiple characters and come up with their own spin on it. Lol Waaley did the same. Zuhaib Sheikh hosted the show, à la Drew Carey, and briefed the audience on the structure of the performance, telling them that it would be interactive. So it was. And the experience was good.

The funniness of the five principal actors (Akbar Chaudry, Muhammad Kumail, Osama Sami, Sannan Wastani and Zubair Tariq) and their presence of mind immediately came to the fore in the very first act with meaningful and hilarious lines.

For example, when one of them is playing the part of a girl trying to throw herself into a man’s arms, she says “pakar laina Nasir Jamshed” — a reference to the poor form that cricketer Nasir Jamshed was in during the recent World Cup.

But the highlight of the evening was the segment where the performers were required to enact scenes given to them by members of the audience. One of them was ‘Pakistani 50 shades of grey’. The actors put the Pakistani spin on the (in)famous story with unstinted wit. Imagine the audience response that the phrase chamrey se maaron ga (will hit you with leather) had!

Or for that matter ‘unusual things at Imran Khan’s dharna’ when a political worker is chanting Aey gi aey gi PTI aey gi and suddenly another shouts Altaf Bhai zindabad!

One has this sneaky feeling that not all of what LoL Walley do is improv. It’s understandable. All actors require some kind of cue to get into the groove. That being said, they’re a funny bunch.

Peerzada Salman, “Pakistani 50 shades of grey,” in Dawn, April 3, 2015. Accessed on April 3, 2015, at:

The item above written by Peerzada Salman and published in Dawn on April 3, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on April 3, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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