• Sunday, June 23, 2024

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Magic of Frankie Goes to Bollywood delights audiences around the country

FRANKIE GOES TO BOLLYWOOD by Kumar Laila Zaidi as Frankie; Navin Kundra as Prem; Shakil Hussain as Raju King; Helen K Wint as Malika; Gigi Zahir as Shona; Katie Stasi as Goldy Anna Maria Barber as Ensemble + Dance Captain Ensemble Tash Bacarese-Hamilton; Hari Chandresh; Kuldeep Goswami; Nikita Johal; Dhruv Ravi; Qoobi Robinson; Tamara Verhoven Clyde Directed by Pravesh Kumar; Associate Directed by Ameet Chana; Musical Supervision & Musical Direction by Josh Sood; Movement Director/ Costume Design by Andy Kumar; Associate Choreography by Nicola Mac; Dramaturgy by Carl Miller; Set Design by Rebecca Browser; Lighting Design by Phillip Gladwell; Sound Design by Chris Murray; Dialect Coaching by Gurkiran Kaur; Original Workshop Arrangements by Charlie Ingles; for Debbie O’Brien Casting by Sophia Lewis; Assistant Design by Willow Burrows; Scenic Graphics by Billy Knapper; Shot at Watford Palace theatre, Watford, United Kingdom on 25.04.24 by Rich Lakos Copyright Rich Lakos / ArenaPAL

By: Sarwar Alam

Rifco Theatre’s grand musical production, Frankie Goes to Bollywood, is story of a young woman from Milton Keynes making it big in the shark-infested waters of the Indian film industry.

Frankie (Laila Zaidi) feels connected to her late mother through their shared loved of the opulent and melodramatic Bollywood films they used to watch together.

For Frankie, the glitz and glamour of Bollywood is worlds away from her life serving popcorn in a cinema.

However, a chance encounter with a director leads her on a journey that sees her overcome the odds to create a place for herself in Bollywood.

Frankie Goes to Bollywood. pic credit: Rich Lakos / ArenaPAL

Writer and director Pravesh Kumar’s story follows the well-tread path of musicals like Hairspray, but what gives it it’s identity are the dazzling costumes, set designs, long-busting musical numbers, fast-paced choreography, and hilarious Bollywood masala clichés you’re unlikely to see in any other UK theatre production.

Whilst it’s a comedy which will have you chuckling throughout, especially at the antics of Frankie’s ditzy cousin Goldie (Katie Stasi) and Raju (Shakil Hussain), a star actor whose determined to control Frankie’s personal and professional life, Kumar doesn’t shy away from shining a light on the toxic nature of the industry.

An initially naïve Frankie is forced to deal with misogyny and go-up against the perils of an industry built on nepotism.

At the show’s core are the powerful female performances, led by the charismatic Zaidi, the scene-stealing Stasi and Helen K Wint who plays ageing star Malaika.

Frankie Goes to Bollywood. Pic credit: Rich Lakos / ArenaPAL

The male actors are also given the platform to make their mark.

Navin Kundra as Prem, the director who discovers Frankie, sees his role lessen as the story develops but shares great chemistry with Zaidi – in fact, their duet literally had one woman crying in the audience!

Frankie Goes to Bollywood cast from left: Laila Zaidi, Gigi Zahir, Navin Kundra, Helen K Wint, Shakil Hussain and Katie Stasi

As for Gigi Zahir, who plays Shona, he is an absolute riot as a camp, over-the-top choreographer whose loud outfits and one-liners keep Frankie’s spirits up on her troubled journey.

Rifco’s ambitious project is fun-filled evening that all ages will enjoy.

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