Rose Theatre, London – until 27 May 2017
Colourful and energetic, Phizzical Productions have produced a lightly entertaining show that reflects the spirit of Bollywood – but the script and story feels stilted. Bringing a different vibe to the Rose Theatre in Kingston, Bring on the Bollywood is a burst of colour and life on stage that just doesn’t seem to have enough impact in terms of its so-so script and the too long scene changes, relying on the music and dancing to get the audience engaged with the story.
There is no question that it is a show that is filled with contrasts. On the one hand, the dancing and music capture the spirit of Bollywood perfectly, particularly ‘Preem Leela’ and ‘Na Jaane’ that really whisk the audience away to India. But on the other there are thinly drawn characters who don’t seem to be convinced by anything – despite the best efforts of all the cast to lift the show from awkwardness to sublime entertainment. The story is also pretty straight forward and you can see exactly where it is heading from the opening scene, there is no real conflict even when romantic entanglements are unravelled.
Everything about the story could have been tied up a lot sooner and the second act seems particularly longer than it needed to be considering there was only a few loose ends to tie up.
But it has to be said that while the material might not be the strongest, Samir Bhambra has created a joyful show that is filled with spirit and heart – particularly when there is singing and dancing involved. Everything is well intentioned – it is just the way in which the material was created that lets it down.
The set designed by Richard Evans might seem a bit basic, but given the room that is required for all the choreography this is not really surprising and it is still quite attractive to look at, while the costumes are gorgeously exotic and show off the dance sequences well.
But despite this, the audience seemed to have a great time and perhaps this is the main purpose of a show that could do with a bit more fine tuning in terms of the script and story to lift the show even higher and make it even more entertaining. A harmless but still likeable show.