Marilyn Gore and Anuja Sodagar, Ahmedabad: Veteran funnyman Cyrus Broacha certainly knows how to work an audience. From starting within the crowd, to poking fun of late arrivals, to handing out gifts amid a constant stream of chatter, he ensured that the fourth wall at Friday night’s showing of How I met your father at the Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Auditorium and Hall in Ahmedabad was more osmotic mesh than imaginary brick, and elicited several guffaws from Amdavadi theatregoers.

However, comedy is hard, and the show proved that. While Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar—who scripted the show produced by Tell Tale Productions and Raell Padamsee’s Ace Productions—played brilliantly off each and the audience, the show itself felt a little like a jigsaw puzzle put together by a child in a hurry. The pieces were all there, but they didn’t always fit together as a cohesive unit.

A combination of skits, monologues and audience interaction, the show looked critically at what its publicity material calls the “idiosyncrasies of our mundane daily lives.” As with any comedy routine that hasn’t yet been fine-tuned, there were several hits and a few misses.

The disconnect between the show and its title was so obvious, Broacha addressed it in his opening monologue. It might have been a good idea to modify the title of Friday’s show, given that Broacha’s daughter—who had made an appearance at show’s debut in Mumbai last year—was not around.

If Vijaykar’s delivery and timing were impeccable, Broacha shone in the improv bits, particularly when it came to barrelling past some of the jokes that did not land. Some of Broacha’s political commentary, for instance, while timely, fell so flat that it curled up and continued to lie there in a foetal position. It also didn’t help that some of the puns were pretending to be intelligent. Gopal Dutt, who played several minor characters, seemed to be having a bad day. He was nervous about the audience response, and it showed.

Interestingly, despite interludes that included The Beatles and multimedia for the background, the show was surprisingly short on production design, with Broacha and Vijaykar having to use the floor as an “overhead bin” at one point. The lighting deserves special mention, since it was used beautifully to frame the action both onstage and off.

On the whole, the audience seemed to enjoy the variety the show brought to the city.

“It’s good that more such shows are coming to Ahmedabad. It gives local audiences a wider array of flavours to choose from. It was not amazing, but I liked that it was balanced: no culture shock, and yet not superficial,” said film and theatre actress Netri Trivedi.

“(It was a) Leave-your- brains-at- home kind of slapstick comedy. It’s a wonderful experience being called on stage as an interactive volunteer and getting to be part of the skit. I’m glad Ahmedabad is evolving and more of these kinds of events are taking places, giving people a chance to unwind, relax and laugh,” said Shishir Hattangadi, a former domestic cricketer.

One audience member had some constructive criticism, “Cross-dressing is only funny if politicians do it. I think comedians should stay away from it. I enjoyed the improv sections. Also, it would have been nice to have more localized jokes,” he said, asking that he not be named.

Whatever the audience thought, cast certainly seemed impressed with their audience. Vijaykar told us he was “surprised the audience had such a positive response” and Dutt commended the “sporting” crowd who weren’t as worrisome as he had feared.

Broacha summed it up by saying, “The response was amazing and we loved the way the audience was open and laughed with all their heart.” Then again, he also told us, “As long as people aren’t throwing tomatoes at us, it’s a good show!” So, maybe, he just has low expectations from his audience?

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Marilyn Gore tweets @RealMarilynGore.