by Rajeev Goswami lyrics by Irfan Siddiqui music by Salim/Sulaiman.
London Palladium Argyll Street W1F 7TF To 27 June 2015.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 412 4655.
Review: Carole Woddis 11 May 2015.
A big bag of Bollywood.
If Bollywood is your bag, this might be the evening you’ve been waiting for. Oodles of energy, costume changes every five minutes, light, colour, action – a veritable visual feast.
Beyond Bollywood – “where dreams become reality” – is a musical about dance, or more precisely, a journey through Indian dance. Big and blowsy with digitalised back projections as scenery, it’s nothing if not garish, Bollywood sent up, its sentiments drawn from Bollywood narratives with a love element, a histrionic element, slightly cheesy but constantly laughing at itself.
First we’re introduced with `Namaste’, welcome to India, with a thumping drumming intro. Next the musicians, on keyboard, tabla, sitar, drums and singer. Dancer Pooja Pant then presents us with a quick vision of classical Kathak dance before the heartbeat of the storyline lurches in with the death of her character, Shaily’s Mother, and attempts by her daughter to follow in her footsteps and make her dream of becoming a dancer come true.
Love of dance,and pride in it as a cultural expression, is the show’s real point.
Shaily’s journey to discover herself in dance takes her via Munich (where her mother was running an Indian theatre), to India to meet the man of her dreams and discover India’s dance history, before returning to Munich to retrieve her mother’s theatre, in danger of being lost.
If the storyline is no more than the flimsiest of clothes peg on which to hang the rest of the show – it disappears almost totally after the interval – Grand Controller Rajeev Goswami (writer, choreographer and director no less) uses it effectively enough as an excuse to exploit his dancers and display Indian dance in all its current forms, from classical, to contemporary, east-west Fusion, hip-hop and memorably a very funny Bob Fosse style male Cabaret spoof.
At times, it’s a marvellous mélange – crude, a bit rough round the edges but irresistibly, foot-tappingly, infectious as the dancers dance up a storm for a Ganesh festival or swirl into a spectacular sea of colourful scarf waving and costumes.
Sit back and let it roll over you: Riverdance come to Mumbai.
Shaily: Ana Ilmi.
Raghav: Mohit Mathur.
The Mother: Pooja Pant.
The Fath/Ballu: Sudeep Modak.
Dancers: Pranalini Atul, Atish Bobade, Abhishek Choksi, Akash Deep, Dionne DMello, Vidushi Gupta, Chanda Joshi, Goral Joshi, Ajinkya Kalokhe, Rupali Kantharia, Akriti Khanna, Rahul Mallah, Anson Mathew, Aishwarya Nair, Sharel Penkar, Anand Rajpurohit, Aishwarya Radhakrishnan, Pradeep Sati, Debanshi Shah, Kumar Sharma (Actor/Dancer), Sanjay Sharma, Vishnu Swaroop Lal, Ishan Waingankar,
Keyboard: Tajas Damania
Tabla: Vivek Mishra.
Sitar: Prasad Rahane.
Pakhawaj: Ganesh Sawant.
Director/Choreographer: Rajeev Goswami.
Lighting: Guy Jones.
Costume: Jennifer Lucien.
Associate lighting: Sarah Brown.
Assistant choreographers: Jeevendra Ramesh Gujrathi, Prjakta Gore.
World premiere of Beyond Bollywood at The London Palladium 8 May 2015.