Fun and frothy, new playwright Shane Sakhrani's insightful play presents the lighter side of the socially crippling stigma of widowhood in modern India. Although it's been two years since still-young-at-50 Deepa (an impishly cute Linda Patel) lost her husband, she insists on fasting and praying all day and refuses to leave her posh apartment. All Deepa wants before she dies is to see her gorgeous grown daughter married. But the thoroughly modern Tara (Puja Mohindra) is resisting an arranged marriage and exhorting her well-off mother to escape her largely self-imposed seclusion and enjoy life so she can head off to study abroad. Meanwhile, Deepa cooks for and commiserates with her son's childhood friend Vinod (Sunil Malhotra), the recently divorced guy-next-door, and surprises herself by succumbing to his advances. For these unconventional lovebirds, life is suddenly brimming with the vibrant colors of romance, until Deepa's grown children find out. Sakhrani's dialogue and situations are clever and realistic, and his protagonists mostly skirt caricature, though the three male "suitor" characters (all played by the hysterically funny Parvesh Cheena) do venture into broad comedy to hilarious effect. Anjali Bhimani is excellent as Deepa's fashionable best friend, the fast-talking and scheming matchmaker Lalitha. Director Shaeen Vaaz neatly inserts some slapstick moments and Bollywood flavor and keeps Sakhrani's marvelous two-act play skipping along. East West Players at David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge John Aiso St., Little Tokyo; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through Oct 9. (213) 625-7000, eastwestplayers.org.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 14. Continues through Oct. 9, 2011