Just when the
modern musical seemed lost to pop compilations or adaptations
of movies, a new one has arrived that combines both those strands,
but is in fact a completely original piece of writing.
The show is Bombay
Dreams, a part-pastiche but all-panache stage version of the
kind of corny romantic movie musicals that regularly emanate from
The show lifts
the lid on the personalities and politics of some of its film-makers
and stars, while simultaneously presenting lavishly staged extracts
from the kind of films they make.
Many of the creative
team and cast that the show's producer Andrew Lloyd Webber
has cannily assembled have actively participated in Bollywood, not
least another extraordinarily fertile melodist, A.R. Rahman,
whom Lloyd Webber has put into the composer's chair that he normally
Though Rahman is
unknown over here, in his native India he has scored the soundtracks
to some fifty Bollywood films, the CD recordings of which have notched
up sales in excess of 100 million copies - as much as Madonna
and Britney Spears combined!
Also from Bollywood,
choreographer Farah Khan (working alongside British stalwart
Anthony van Laast) has provided the exhilarating dances that
illuminate such showstopping songs as 'Shakalaka Baby' and 'Salaam
Mark Thompson, who cleverly even utilises the art deco architecture
of the Apollo Victoria's auditorium itself at key points, provides
exotically and evocatively stunning sets.
dweller to movie star
All are pressed
into the service of a story, created by comic actress and writer
Meera Syal, that follows its hero, Akaash, on his passage
from Bombay slum dweller to movie star, with wit and drenched in
and Preeya Kalidas
There hasn't been
a richer or more appropriate musical ballad than 'The Journey Home'
in years, and it's delivered with amazing power by Raza Jaffrey
as Akaash, the most exciting new leading man to emerge in a London
musical since Hugh Jackman became an overnight star in the
National Theatre production of Oklahoma!
Leading lady Preeya
Kalidas as the object of Akaash's love is also a tremendous
But a huge ensemble
cast beautifully animates the entire show. They include a warmly
drawn portrait of a transsexual (Raj Ghatak) and a hilarious
showbiz gossip reporter (Shelley King), as well as a buxomly
winning movie star (Ayesha Dkarker).