New site-specific production Night at the Bombay Roxy, an immersive Indian noir, will play out in the surroundings of the as-yet-unopened Dishoom restaurant in the iconic Barkers Building in Kensington, London, from 27 November until 11 December 2017, ahead of the restaurant officially opening on 12 December.
Night at the Bombay Roxy is conceived and written by Ollie Jones and Clem Garritty (from the award-winning theatre collective Kill the Beast) for Swamp Studios, and directed by Eduard Lewis. An ensemble of actors and musicians will transport the audience to the opening night of the Bombay Roxy, a café and jazz club housed within a former Art Deco cinema set in Bombay, 1949. The performance will be matched with a lavish dining experience. Audience members will be greeted with welcome cocktails, and then will feast on a menu of classic Bombay dishes as the performance unfolds.
Night at the Bombay Roxy will immerse the audience in the intriguing world of 1940s Bombay, where an unexpected and exciting jazz scene was flourishing alongside a uniquely Bombay version of the Art Deco style (the city remains the biggest and best example of Art Deco architecture in the world, after Miami).
Whilst Bombay’s architects and designers studied Western Art Deco, they redefined it by creating a distinctive Indian style. Jazz was first introduced to Bombay in the 1930s by touring American artists who opened the city’s ears to new sounds. Local musicians were quick to catch on, and by the 1940s ‘hot jazz’ was everywhere. This was Bombay’s glamorous jazz age, as told in Bombay-based author Naresh Fernandes’ critically acclaimed book, Taj Mahal Foxtrot – the inspiration for this play.
It is a close and heavy monsoon night on Marine Lines. Despite the weather, there is a jostling of people outside the Bombay Roxy. The club didn’t always have this pull or indeed its current reputation. The man behind the reinvention is the charismatic Cyrus Irani, whose name was once synonymous with Bombay’s racketeers, with murky allegiances, and with police escorts to Arthur Road Jail. But now Cyrus fully intends to put the Bombay underworld behind him. And his new venture, the Bombay Roxy, might just be his redemption.
[Enter CYRUS IRANI.]
Shamil Thakrar, Dishoom Co-Founder and Creative Producer of Night at the Bombay Roxy, says: “I’m delighted that we are supporting these hugely talented young artists to bring to life an immersive theatrical adventure that is inspired by two of my personal cultural obsessions – jazz and Bombay. The jazz scene in Bombay in the 1940s is one of those undiscovered treasure-chests of treats, and I can’t wait to see and hear and feel it brought to life in this new show. The fact that it will all be happening in our new Dishoom in the beautiful Barkers of Kensington makes it even more exciting.”
Tickets are priced £72 (inclusive of welcome drink, set menu and service charge). The performance lasts up to three hours, with guests’ tables secured for the whole evening until the bar closes at 11pm.