Kathkali is an ancient and venerable dance tradition that sprang from the rich culture of the people of the Malabar Coast. The Dancers are the direct hereditary descendants of dancers going back over many centuries.
They are trained from early childhood in the language and symbols of the dance and in a muscle control so very profound that they may well be the only people on the planet outside of the highest Gurus able to consciously control every muscle in their bodies.
We attend the tourist performance which includes a display of eye-rolling, cheek trembling and eyebrow fluttering to beat the band. The dancers cocked snoot, wobbling jowls and bulging eyeball, intended to essay “Passion”, raises a chortle from the peanut gallery and, of course, a censorious look from we of the long-haired fraternity.
Next an extraordinary dance glossary. The dancers ripple and flow and murmur as rivers, they burst and shimmer as sunrises, they girdle the wide world as mountains, and shake colourfully as falling leaves.
Despite our well known dedication to High Culture must be admitted that we did notice that one of the performing artistes bore an unfortunate resemblance to Lou Costello.Take Lou and dress him up in drag – with pompoms. Let him do that whole eyebrow wiggle thing he does so well… and then the coquette thing with the finger under the chin.
And while we’re taking the Michael a little correct me if I’m wrong but blow me down if the dancer in our featured image doesn’t bear more than a passing resemblance to Roy Rene’s character, Mo McKackie.
Add an elderly man-boobed “singer” with extreme indigestion (but the show must go on so he’s “singing” through the pain) as he clangs his cowbells.
There’s another chap on the boards – Kathakali is only ever performed by men, who has a green face with what looks like a high white collar and a gold hat worthy of a Sun God. I was under the mistaken impression that he was the demon (I admit it. It was the green colour of his skin) but it turned out he was the hero and I only know this because he sliced off “Lou’s” breast, ear and nose. So, something for all the family then. Seriously though a beautiful and powerful art and a bit of a giggle, who could ask for anything more ?