Review by Manju Sampat
The Jeff Goldberg Studio, in Bandra has been doing some excellent theatre for some years now. Jeff Goldberg it’s founder, has written and directed “The Altamount Road Murders”. He also acts one of the key roles in this play. They staged the premier show of this play in one of South Mumbai’s most prestigious venues, The Royal Opera House on June 30th.
As we enter this beautiful theatre, we hear scintillating jazz riffs being played by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. The mood is already set for an evening of “Jazz Theatre Noir”! Then when the curtain goes up, the stage is dramatically bathed in a red light and we are already hooked! The first scene is equally dramatic, a gunshot is heard and Abhishek Tandon (Vikas Mandaliya) runs on to the stage, in a disheveled and blood soaked shirt. When his sister Laura (Aneesha Shah) asks what happened, he claims to have cut himself! Soon the mystery begins to unravel. Sonali Agarwal, (Sushrii Shreya Mishra), who is married to a much older Anand Agarwal, a leading politician, happens to be in love with Abhishek, and is having an affair with him.
But when Anand’s body is found shot to death and handcuffed to a prostitute in the trunk of his car, Sonali goes to a private detective Sam Huston (Jeff Goldberg), and asks him to find the killer. She has some dirt on him, and knows that Sam has his own secret to hide that made him leave New York and hide out in faraway Bombay. Instantly Sam understands that he has much more than just a regular homicide case on his hands.
Laura Tandon, is a lawyer and she desperately wants to know why her family firm which was involved in the construction of a highway project, is being investigated for embezzling hundreds of crores of rupees. She asks Abhishek if Ibrahim (Vishal Handa), their adopted brother, and a journalist with “connections “, could perhaps help them. He gets furious, and the bad vibes between the brothers becomes obvious. Laura then decides to use Sam Huston to help her get to the root of this mystery. He makes a deal with her, you help me find Anand Agarwal’s killer and I help you solve your problems. However, little does Sam know that he’s about to upset the extremely delicate balance of power that keeps the Tandon family, one of the wealthiest and most prestigious in the country, from ripping itself apart. Sam follows a trail of secrets, lies, corruption, money, lust and love to its very end where the ultimate betrayal reveals that much more than just thousands of crores have gone missing and two people wind up dead. So like any good murder mystery, this story too has that unexpected twist in the end.
The haunting music by Miles Davis being played in the background, was most apt and added to the “noir” feel of the play. The versatile stage setting, made clever use of space. Sam Huston’s office, the Tandon living room and a third space that functioned as a hospital and the morgue were seen at all times. Like most first nights, this show also had its share of technical sound glitches but then which first show doesn’t! Acting wise, the most convincing were Aneesha Shah as Laura and Jeff Goldberg as Sam. More shows at the same venue on July 15th and 16th at 7pm. Tickets from BookMyShow.