7 August 2019

Bollywood Jane - Curve Leicester Review

Saris, sequins and Bollywood burst on the Curve Studio Stage with a new production of Amanda Whittington's Bollywood Jane. This updated version of her play, set this summer, is staged by the Curve Young Company and Community Company. A show set in Leicester and couldn't be more made for the Curve stage.

Chloe Wilson (Jane) and the cast of Bollywood Jane. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
The play follows 16-year-old Jane and her mum, Kate. They arrive on Leicester's Golden Mile struggling to make ends meet. In search of work Jane ends up at the local Bollywood cinema where she becomes mesmerised in the world she sees on the screen. A friendship with a local boy, Dini looks to promise Jane her own Bollywood fairy tale love story - if only life could be so simple.

The shows at it's best during the terrific Bollywood dance sequences which are superbly performed by the company. Choreographer Kesha Raithatha has done a sterling job and it pays off with a joyous final sequence. Whilst those dance moments are superb the play's clunky dialogue and wordy scenes do make the 2 hours 10 minute run time feel a little long.

Having a large number of cast members works really well for the dance sequences but it doesn't work in other places. In the first act, there was a very clumsy market scene where the lead actors were completely drowned out by the noise of the company. I can't fault any of the company for they all put in a great effort and it's wonderful to see such a range of ages on the stage together.

Top: Left- Chloe Wilson (Jane). Right - Sanjay Dattani (Amir)
Bottom: Left - Rebekah Fleming (Kate). Right - Chloe Wilson (Jane) and Rav Moor (Dini)
All photos by Pamela Raith Photography
The saving grace for this production are the lead actors. Chloe Wilson's Jane, sassy, feisty but with a soft centre, is a joy to watch. She makes you feel totally invested in Jane. Rav Moore's Dimi is tremendous. He's a fantastic young actor and oozed likeability. He wouldn't look out of place on any stage or big-screen Bollywood (or Hollywood!) blockbuster.

There's fine support too from Rebekah Fleming's boisterous Kate and Sanjay Dattani's down on his luck cinema owner, Amir Desai.

Siobhan Cannon-Brownlie's has done a fine directorial job and along with Eleanor Field's design and David Hately's lighting, they've brought a real flavour of the city's Golden Mile to the Curve stage with a great company. Whilst it's a bit hit and miss at times it's ultimately a likeable and enjoyable production.

Rating: ★★★

Bollywood Jane plays at Curve's Studio space until Sunday 11th August. Tickets and more information are available here.
The cast of Bollywood Jane. Photo by Pamela Raith Photography.

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