Review: Major Barbara

Major Barbara- GB Shaw
Major Barbara- G B Shaw

Major Barbara is a three act play by George Bernard Shaw, written and premiered in 1905 and first published in 1907.

The plot revolves around Major Barbara Undershaft, an officer of the Salvation Army and the dilemma she faces when her father Andrew Undershaft, a millionaire and an arms dealer donates a large amount to the Salvation Army. While Andrew Underhsaft is a millionaire, he has been estranged from his wife and children and Lady Britomart, his wife is struggling to get her children to come into money so that they can have a comfortable life. The story revolves around the differnt eccentricities of the characters, the crux lying in Barbara dealing with her disillusionment with the relation between money and charity.

Throughout the course of the three acts, one can see the churning of scruples that the characters go through. There is a faraway ideal enshrined in Barbara’s beliefs, while Undershaft shows strength and fortitude in achieveing the greater good through smaller steps. While Barbara thinks of the ends, Underhsaft tries to provide the means to that ends.

Shaw, one of the most successful playwrights and writers of his time, was a strong reformist socialist. This piece of work is possibly one which closely reflects his political ideologies and beliefs. Though he touches upon very serious subjects, the treatment keeps it from getting brooding and dark. The characterizations are sketched to flit between stereotypes and exceptions so that they seem more real than they can be, yet grounded.

Read the complete review here.

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Review: The Alchemist

The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is a very simple book. It is also a very brilliant tale, a mesmerizing concoction of the many elements that make a great story- there’s passion, there’s love, there’s danger and adventure. But that alone doesn’t explain why the book has sole more than 65 million copies, why it has been lauded by critics, famous people, teenagers and adults alike, or why, after being first published in 1993 (English edition), it still sells as many copies.

The book’s message lies in its most famous line- “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Now do you see the power behind the book?

Coelho takes your dreams and desires and gives you the hope, the power to believe and the faith that all that you wish will come to you. And it will come to you with the aid of the entire universe, nature and men conspiring with each other to help you fulfill your dreams. Such promises, or the fulfillment of some such in a story can seem immensely attractive. And that is what makes the book such a huge success.

It is in essence a self help book, told beautifully through the story of an Andulasian shepherd who goes on to unravel his destiny and find his treasure studying signs that nature and fate throws at him. Isn’t that how all of our lives run- on signs and indications, on risks and opportunities, on means and ends? And what do we all want while we chase our dreams- a little bit of help and hope. And this book gives you exactly that.

Critics and cynics alike will call this a novel chasing lofty fairytale ideas, but what is life if not chasing fairytale ideas? Optimists and dreamers would definitely love this book. So drop the cynicism and pick up this book for a thrilling journey with Santiago and his dreams.

Read the complete review here.

Review: Armageddon- The Musical

Armageddon The Musical
Armageddon The Musical- Robert Rankin

Cast:
Earthers: Rex Mundi, the hero unaware, Gloria Mundi, his not-very-nice-but-incredibly-attractive sister, Rambo Bloodaxe & Deathblade Eric, Elvis Presley with Barry the Time Sprout residing in his head.

Phnaargs: Mungo Madoc, main guy behind the TV show The Earthers, Fergus Shaman-the guy/Phnaarg of the Time Sprout, Jovis Jspht, Jason Morgawr.

The Almighties: Dalai Dan, the 153rd reincarnation of the Lama of that ilk, Christeen the only Daughter of God, and the Big Nose himself.

Year: Back and forth over 1958 and 2050.

The book is agog wit pop-culture references, some that come to surface only on a second or third reading. And you will definitely want to have a second reading. Things you are bound to do after every three pages include the following:

> Experience a genuine LOL moment.

> Chuckle/snigger at understanding a metaphor you thought you weren’t smart enough to catch

> Stare into space wondering hows, whats, hows of the twists and turns

> Marvel at the sharp wit and incredible imagination of Mr. Rankin

> And lastly, you’ll be going back once in a while to check that you are keeping pace with our heroes and villians.

For all its obscurity and missing from the “lists”, it is one of the best kept secret works of this genre. Go dig it out, strap on your safety belts and enjoy the ride.

Favorite Quote: If it’s God’s will, who gets the money? – Tony O’Blimey – From the Suburban Book Of Dead

Complete review to be found here.