Amanda Whittington’s Belgrave Road based Bollywood Jane is a transforming theatrical affair. The Leicester Curve Young Company and Community bring their talents and bundles of energy to this special piece that places its action and heart on Leicester’s Golden Mile. Bollywood Jane certainly has general appeal as an East West fusion play about the struggles of existing on a shoe string and then dealing with more unexpected setbacks. Then there are dreams and the remote possibility of them bringing more joy into life.
There is also much light and delight amongst the darker themes brought about by Whittington’s witticisms and plenty of verbal nods for the Leicester audience to enjoy. Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie’s exemplary direction and her tight artistic grip on the dramatic domestic scenes work especially well.
From the stark realities of Leicester life portrayed on stage spring forth the exuberant fantasy of the romantically heightened world of Bollywood films where sorrows and sex sing out amongst the sensational swishing and vibrant saris. And it is this fusion of realism and fantasy that makes something rather special out of what initially seems a deceptively simple plot line.
The first act establishes the arrival of Jane Kelly (Chloe Wilson) and her mum Kate (Rebekah Fleming) at a house in the Belgrave Road district. They are poor and Jane is a direction-less yet gutsy sixteen year old. The mum Kate is keen to get her daughter out to work to bring in some much needed money to exist. There is tension in the new home and Jane is sent out to the shops where she meets friendly Bollywood obsessed Dini Kapur (Rav Moore) who works part time on Belgrave Road for his hard working sister Suvi (Sneya Rajani) and casual hours for The Star of Bollywood independent cinema owner – the concerned Amir Desai (Sanjay Dattani). Could this be the blossoming of a romance between Jane and Dini? Will the struggling Bollywood Star cinema become a popular attraction again? Will Kate stop her drinking habit and focus on her realities? Cue fantastical Bollywood singers and dancers!
The second act really notches up the drama and brings in quite a few surprises with the arrival of Kate’s previous landlord Mac (Sebastian Sullivan) and the relationships of the main cast evolve further and give the audience some intriguing and unexpected plot developments. And of course, all this high drama continues to be augmented by the ensemble and leads through thrilling song and dance. Expect superbly performed Bollywood fantasy sections created and taught by choreographer Kesha Raithatha. On a practical note the scene transitions between the house representation and other locations are superbly and slickly done and give the whole piece a beautifully uninterrupted dramatic flow.
The whole cast put their heart and soul into this much appreciated, enjoyable and very relatable tale. The standards of acting are exceptionally high throughout with special regard to Wilson, Fleming, Moore and Dattani who are so super professional they make this Made at Curve version of Bollywood Jane such a deep pleasure to watch. Hats off too for the sterling Bollywood Jane work of designer Eleanor Field, lighting designer David Hately, sound designer Chris James and video designer Richard Owen.
For those who are more familiar with the classic Hindi language Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jeyenge Bollywood Jane features three songs Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane, Zara Jhoom Loon Main and Tujhe Dekha To.
Bollywood Jane runs at Curve until Sunday 11th August.
Book www.curevonline.co.uk or tel 0116 242 3595
Photo credit Pamela Raith
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