Following newly immigrated Happy, an Indian-born cricket enthusiast, The Good Immigrant by CJ Productions, observes the journey one takes to fit into a new cultural landscape while being obstructed by racists.
Happy narrates his life’s story to the audience though a series of monologues and mildly disjointed flashbacks, as he travels from India to Australia, and falls in love with the beaches, strip clubs, and the Australian way of life.
Despite covering the heavier topics of violence and racism inherent in humanity, The Good Immigrant still manages to have comedic and light-hearted tones. With a few dance scenes and inconveniently timed calls from Happy’s mother, being slotted next to scenes of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
While the events follow Happy, both Indian and Australian culture is portrayed well within the play, with many relatable and witty jokes made that can be understood by a wider audience. With the eerily accurate depiction of your average Australian hospitality workers, racist old men kicking up a fuss, and the strange people you encounter by taking the last bus of the night.
Writer, Producer, and Lead Performer, CeeJay Singh, created the story with inspiration from actual events. Modelling Happy’s character on the hypocrisy he has witnessed in Indian-Australian’s despairing over experiencing racism, while they show discrimination towards ‘The Untouchables’, the people who are considered inferior according to the Indian Caste hierarchy system.
During the opening night performance, the actors all performed well, with only a few stumbled lines here and there. With the number of characters in the play exceeding the number of cast members, there were several impressive quick costume changes throughout the show.
Based at Star Theatres in Hilton, they utilised the smaller stage space with simple yet effective set design. Rotating couch cushions and decorations to denote a new house, a roaming sink, and a few multi-purpose milk-crates and stools.
CJ Productions has brought something new and interesting to the Adelaide Fringe, with a witty blending of cultures and an insightful exploration of racism in their newest play The Good Immigrant. It will leave you with the thought-provoking message that racism can be found in many forms across all cultures, but behind it we are all people, and we should strive to treat everyone with humanity.