Saturday, 9 June 2007

Bollywood Jane - West Yorkshire Playhouse

Bollywood Jane by Amanda Whittington
West Yorkshire Playhouse: 2nd -30th June
Directed by: Nikolai Foster
Choreography: Zoobin Surty
Original Music: Grant Olding
Reviewed by Lyndsey Holmes

Yorkshire is about to host the International Indian film Academy Awards, and Bollywood Jane, which is part of the fringe festival for this event, is the perfect show to get you in the mood!

Bollywood jane tells the story of a girl who flees her home with her mother and lands in Bradford, where she meets Dini who sweeps her up into a world of Bollywood fantasy.The writer, Amanda Whittington, has created a moving play, with very real charaters and a gritty northern storyline, but credit should go to young director Nikolai Foster who has managed to seamlessly blend the action with huge bollywood dance numbers. Not an easy task with a twenty strong community chorus!

The chorus, some of whom have never danced or acted before, are transformed into a bollywood company thanks to the training and choreography of Zoobin Surty. They mastered the bollywood moves and danced passionately, with each and everyone of them thoroughly deserving their place on the stage. As each bollywood scene is meant to be a dream or fantasy of title character Jane, using a community chorus worked brilliantly, these are real people Jane could have seen on the streets of bradford and it is convincing that the close community around her are whisked into her dreams as she becomes a Bollywood star!

A special mention should go to Nichola Burley who plays Jane. She dances beautifully as she weaves through the chorus and plays out her own bollywood love scene. Bollywood Jane marks Nicholas professional stage debut but this performance is sure to secure her a brilliant theatre career. Her acting was phenominal. She managed to captivate the audience and take them through a rollercoaster of emotions, having amazing chemistry with all five of the other lead roles. Particularly moving were the scenes between Jane and her mother Kate, played by Katherine Dow Blyton.

The cotumes, set (Colin Rischmond), lighting (Guy Hoare), Sound and Video (Mic Pool) only enhance the performance further, particularly in the musical scenes, where an explosion of colour transports you to Bollywood.

It is impossible to watch these scenes without moving and it was obvious from looking around that most members of the audience were itching to get up and dance. My only critisism of the show is that it was over too quickly, although it ran at around two hours, I wanted the all singing, all dancing finale to go on into the night!

Bollywood Jane runs at The West Yorkshire Playhouse until 30 June, for more information visit
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