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Britain’s Got Bhangra (The Musical) – West Yorkshire Playhouse

Music: Sumeet Chopra

Lyrics: Dougal Irvine

Writer & Director: Pravesh Kumar

Reviewer: Nicola Harrison

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★½

‘Aj Bhangra Paun Noo’n Jee Kardaa’ – ‘Today I feel like doing Bhangra dance’ (Malkit Singh, 2001)

‘Britain’s got Bhangra’ was brought to the Yorkshire stage by Rifco Arts, a British Asian Theatre Company that aims to embrace the multicultural world in which we live through its highly entertaining, energizing and original works. Their focus is on the fusion of the modern diverse community with the contemporary British Asian experience. With such a vibrant and fresh approach, this production never failed to delight the audience through its Bollywood style glitz and satirical slant on Britain across the decades. The versatility of the actors brought this bilingual show to life with dynamic musical numbers designed to incite you to move to the rhythm of the Bhangra dance.

Bhangra is a lively form of folk music and dance that originates from Punjab. Punjabis perform Bhangra to celebrate harvest festivals and weddings. Though the dance began as a folk dance, Bhangra music developed in the UK in the 1980’s and combines traditional Bhangra drumming with modern western instruments and rhythms. This form of music was adopted by several Punjabi bands from the UK such as The Jambo Boys (1968) and The Saathies (1970).

The story centres around the character of Twinkle, a talented singer who arrives in England with a musical mission to fulfull his dreams and use his god-given gift to line his empty purse strings. His wife, Jussi, awaits for success back in Punjab, but her patience is tried to the limits as Twinkle becomes caught up with the cut-throat life of the music industry and encounters rival competition with the remixed sound of DJ Lovely. A hilarious and tragic series of events follow as the audience are transported through passages of time in British history to unveil Twinkles final destiny.

From the outset of this production, under the magnificent direction of Pravesh Kumar, we are rewarded with an unforgettable experience. Through the collaboration of talented artists: the musical and inspirational engineering of composer, Sumeet Chopra, the authentic, mesmerizing sounds of The Band and the cast who excelled in their singing and dancing roles, we are caught up with this entrancing bilingual experience. The fact that we do not understand every word does not detract from its pleasure as a performance.

Surrinder Singh Parwana (Twinkle) and Sohm Kapila (Jussi) were spectacular in their roles and enchanted the audience with their vocal accomplishments. Natasha Jayetileke (Shinde) excelled as a scrupulous villain and Rina Fatania (Bibiji) provided the comedy that never failed to entertain and delight. Jason Denton (Jason), Michael Taibi (Rocky) and Rakesh Boury (DJ Lovely) gave strong performances.

The colourful and innovative use of staging and props enhanced the vibrant activity that prevailed throughout. This production is promised to raise your spirits and draw you into the Bhangra dance. It is must-see entertainment for all the family.

‘Britain’s got Bhangra’ runs at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds until Saturday 29th October 11

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The Public Reviews was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.