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Bringing on the Bollywood. Pictures: Nicola Young

Bring on the Bollywood

Coventry Belgrade B2

*****

PHIZZICAL Productions easily justifies its name: it fizzes and whizzes, sizzles and bristles and teases with comedy, makes you want to laugh and sing, and tickles you with a storyline that could be a cousin of The Comedy of Errors or Twelfth Night.

One is disinclined to believe publicity blurb, but Bring on the Bollywood really is what it says : a romantic comedy plus a fantastic soundtrack interwoven with wit, wild parties and wicked dances.

A brand new piece written by director Sâmir Bhamra in classic Bollywood style, while combining influences from British Classical theatre and contemporary Bollywood: this was clever theatre, and immensely appealing.

True, I found it difficult to envisage here ‘The Valley of Flowers’, exquisite mountainous country that the set - attractive in itself - aspired to conjure up. If encountered ourselves in a blaze of colour, it was thanks instead to a treasure box of costumes, wild orange and turquoise, blazing pinks and greens and apricots, which surely are the very essence of Bollywood presentations.

The acting was so colourful and energetic, so physical, entertaining andmid picture vital, it set the Belgrade stage alight at every turn. The quality of the speaking was superb - real high quality. Not that I was always able to work out who exactly was who, or who was courting whom, or who was who’s friend, at every turn. But most characters effortlessly shone.

Rasheeda Ali and Adam Samuel Bal

For me, Nikkita Chadha’s Rekha was the one who delighted most: a joy to watch, a delight to hear; tender and sharp-witted. But then Bhavin Bhatt’s ‘Lucky’ came good later on, witty and on the ball, in an increasingly striking performance as the canny son of the family.

Sohm Kapila’s Katrina - sprung from a family that is (of course) desperate to marry her off - and ‘manglik’ Ronny (Adam Samuel-Bal) were central to the story. But it was Katrina and Lucky’s family - Rohit Holani (daddy - The Colonel) and Sakuntala Ramanee (mother) - who were an absolute hoot every time either of them appeared.

A reason this Bollywood show was such a terrific event - and it certainly shone - was because the music - a vibrant collection - was so spirited, and somehow right, and because the dance, choreographed with real imagination and a sense of glee and fun by Subhash Viman and his colleagues, with Prem Raj (Balraj) a special treat, was electrifying.

This was a show in which you felt joyously at home, and in which the entire acting team had a twinkle about it that easily gathered the audience into itself and made the evening a treat. To 30-04-16

Roderic Dunnett

26-04-16

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