Bring On The Bollywood is a glittering production charged by the beauty of the Indian culture, complete with excellent comedy and a dazzling set.
Phizzical Productions in association with the Belgrade Theatre have created a show that intertwines the British and Indian cultures and stereotypes. When 32-year-old doctor Katrina (Sohm Kapila), who has a passion for Bollywood dancing, travels back to see her family in India for her brother’s wedding, her family are determined to find her a husband. Her mother (Sakuntala Ramanee) is blinded by the glamour of being an Indian housewife and is unable to understand why her daughter would want to live in England and maintain a successful career.
Katrina bumps into English architect Ronny (Adam Samuel-Bal), who boards the plane clutching an urn as he is travelling to India to collect some ancient water to help his sick father. When they meet on the plane, their eyes catch, sparking a romance that we witness develop throughout the show, complete with twists and turns along the way.
The show also tells the story of English-born Amit (Rishi Nair), who moves to India to pursue a career in the film industry and falls in love with Rekha (Nikkita Chadha) who is arranged to marry Katrina’s brother, nicknamed ‘Lucky’ (Bhavin Bhatt).
Sohm Kapila is exceptional as Katrina, the strong female role that fights against the boundaries set upon her by her family is written flawlessly. The comedy in the production is sublime, and Kapila’s animated characterisation, witty remarks and spoken thoughts set the hilarious tone for the show. This is enhanced by her brother, nicknamed ‘Lucky’, who provides a lot of humour through his dim-witted and egocentric nature, his comedy timing is phenomenal and had the audience roaring with laughter.
The production explores the ideas around arranged marriage, feminism and a woman’s place in society. Despite these important themes, it’s a ravishing and colourful show intensified with the use of contemporary Indian music.
Choreographers Leena Patel, Subhash Viman and Sonia Sabri have superbly mastered the exotic intricacy of the Bollywood style of dance, from sumptuous romantic numbers to the vibrancy of the upbeat dances. When the stage is filled with the cast, it creates a passionate performance that is simply spectacular. The choreography is complimented by stunning costumes, designed by the writer and director Samir Bhamra.
The show works exceptionally in the round, the audience feel part of the action and become truly immersed in the Bollywood ambience. The staging allows the audience to engage with the characters, it’s a complex storyline with a multitude of character relationships, yet it is depicted clearly on stage.
The set itself is lit beautifully, with gleaming lights and an array of colour, the production has not held back on the lusterously designed set. Despite each scene having the perfect balance of pace, this is lost through the transitions, as backstage crew are used to move the set around. The piece would flow a lot better if the characters transitioned the set between each scene in a creative way.
Described as a musical, the numbers are predominantly dance based however there are a few solos and duets sung within the show that work tremendously. Within a comedic production, the songs provide a warming element to the show which portray the character’s deeper emotions, creating a compelling performance.
Bring On The Bollywood is an animated show bursting with colour and vitality that is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.