2017 Chapel Off Chapel

The Perfume Garden Returns to Melbourne in 2017

After ten years, Rajendra Moodley’s hit play The Perfume Garden is returning to the stage.

Set in an outer suburban spice shop, The Perfume Garden explores some of multiculturalism’s absurdities. Chitra and Satya want nothing more than to see their aging son Anand settle down, get married and take over the family business. His girlfriend Devi seems to be the perfect match: also 30+, Devi has also been dodging a bullet most of her adult life. The play opens on their ‘proposal day’ (the first part of an Indian wedding. However, Anand is reluctant to set a date for the engagement, let alone the wedding! His parents feel that time is running out: not just for Anand as a ‘catch’… but also for them as they become older and suffer ill health. They use Ayah as a metaphor for what lies ahead.

Anand is hapless. A writer/ actor, who clearly has been unsuccessful in his career. He has moved back home. But for his own ‘independence’, he has relocated to the granny flat at the back of the shop. He lives his life in his head. His only escape from the mundane life of selling spices, is to fantasize about being in his own Bollywood movie.

He dabbles with perfumes. Believing the Indian, exotic oils his father used to sell, have both medicinal and magical powers. He is forced into looking after an old lady, Ayah, one day. She is a distant relative (by marriage). Ayah is an 80 year old stroke victim. Through the magical perfumes, Anand releases Ayah as a genie. She tries to unleash the the aspects of him that have been supressed. Bringing the fantasy into reality. Her job is to ‘bring a blessing’ to him. She does this by making him see what is inside. Ayah unleashes havoc on the family: creating magical perfumes that have unusual side effects!

The Perfume Garden has been considerably reworked and rewritten to make it even more topical and relevant to both the Indian community, and all migrant communities. The themes of identity and belonging, along with the themes of family, and love, are even stronger than ever.

There are 9 dance numbers, presented as opulent fantasies, with a dance cast of 15, in stunning Bollywood bling costumes from India. Choreographed by Jagritti Bhatia, with dancers from Ignite Bollywood, and The Victorian State Ballet Company. With lighting design by Jason Bovaird. The play is directed by Paul Watson.


Chapel Off Chapel 

12 Little Chapel Street  

Prahran 3181

Phone bookings: 03 8290 7000



Phone Bookings 7 days a week; 10am-5pm Monday-Friday, 12noon-5pm Weekends.

Ticket Collections 7 days a week 12noon to 5pm and 1 hour prior to performance.

Internet Bookings 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.


Directed by Paul Watson. Chapel Off Chapel season opens August 3. Starring Vishwajeet Pradhan; Laura Lattuada; Khema de Silva; Sacha Joseph; Rajendra Moodley and featuring a dance cast from Ignite Bollywood and The Victorian State Ballet.


Cast Gallery