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Girl Power Comes to Bollywood

Frankie goes to Bollywood. Photo courtesy of Rifco Theatre Company.

Frankie goes to Bollywood, the Belgrade Theatre, from Tuesday 2 July – Saturday 6 July. Concept and Book by Pravesh Kumar. Songs and Music by Niraj Chag. Songs and Lyrics by Tasha Taylor Johnson.

Review by Heidi Barber.

This latest production from Rifco Theatre Company, the makers of Britain’s Got Bhangra, is a colourful journey of romance, epic songs and spectacular dance. It is the world premiere of a new British musical based on a book by Pravesh Kumar.

The heroine of the story, Frankie (Laila Zaidi), is working as a cinema usherette with her cousin and best friend, Goldy (Katie Stasi) in their local cinema in Milton Keynes. Goldy dreams of becoming a star in the movies she watches every day and after a chance encounter between Frankie and aspiring film director Prem Kapoor (Navin Kundra), Frankie uses the opportunity to secure an audition for her mate.

An epic and colourful journey of romance, song and dance. Photo courtesy of Rifco Theatre Company.

Unfortunately for Goldy, her dreams are not destined to become a reality as her best friend Frankie is the one chosen to star in Prem’s new Bollywood movie. Frankie travels to India where, due to her good looks, she becomes an instant star on the Bollywood scene.

Alas for Frankie, it isn’t long before her Bollywood dream turns into a nightmare when she ends up in a cynical relationship with established star Raju King (Shakil Hussain), who is many years past his sell-by date but still influential due to family connections.

Frankie played by Laila Zaidi. Photo courtesy of Rifco Theatre Company.

Despite discovering, a little too late, that Bollywood is not the fantasy world that she had imagined, Frankie succeeds in reaffirming her friendship with Goldy and breaking away from the exploitation of young, female actors associated with Bollywood movies.

This show is billed as a ‘billion colour musical’ and it certainly lives up to that description with vibrant, colourful sets reminiscent of scenes from a Holi festival. The dramatic lighting is matched with a wide variety of spectacular costumes and high energy dancing from the ensemble cast. Laili and Katie give convincing performances as the key characters in this heartwarming play which succeeds in challenging the stereotypes associated with Bollywood.


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