Posts Tagged ‘World Stages London’

Apparently, Wah! Wah! is what an Indian audience calls out to show appreciation. At the end of this show, it was about the last thing I felt like saying. They spent 2 hours 40 mins trying to beat me into submission and failed. Subtle it is not!

It’s a good idea. A Bollywood musical set in present day Britain with flashbacks to India and a very current issue in forced marriage. It starts well as Bindi says goodbye to husband Mansoor, off on a business trip, and occupies her enormous armchair and uses the remote control to switch on the TV to bury herself in a Bollywood movie.

The rest of the first half is fairly inconsequential. There’s some nice humour involving an Asian shopkeeper, a black handyman and a Polish handyman (though his accent seemed American to me!) and a lot of scenes set in a dancing school. The routines seemed more MTV than Bollywood to me and the sound was turned up to ‘this is almost hurting me’ levels. It was colourful, it had its moments but it didn’t seem to be going anywhere until, towards the end, we realise that young Sita has run away from her family.

Much more happens in the second half as we return to India to discover what happened to dance teacher Soraya that brought her to the UK and Sita’s story unfolds (a bit, but holding back, I thought). This all seemed so contrived and clumsily staged, by Emma Rice no less, the relentless MTV routines continued and by now I was rather hoping it would all end soon so that we could go for an Indian meal in peace.

This is the second show in World Stages London to disappoint. Like Babel, it seems like a good idea that gets the sort of resources that would keep the Finborough going for about a decade, and a creative team so big that they cease to be creative. In the programme, it lists a team of 13 to match the cast of 13, then a whole page of others who contributed – some 50 people and organisations. More is less? I think so.

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