None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan (page 159)
Drams or if you get the irony
Venue Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)
Address Cambridge Street, off Lothian Road
Reviewer Thelma Good
This musical world premieres at the Traverse, it's from India so? It's the fringe. Bollywood movies are made in no time at all, have lots of lavish costumes, copycat plots, and lots of musical numbers where the stars mime, sometimes noticeably. Oh and dancing, there's lots of dancing. If you've never seen one, think tacky, garish and bizarre. Right. Got that? You're now in the right frame of mind to see this fun musical where Director Sanjoy Roy and his enthusiastic and talented Indian cast including a rock singer and notable actors takes us into the fantasy world of a Bollywood film. There's also a fine male dancer from France, all go into the throw anything in style these movies are famed for.
The costumes are full of glitter and bright spangles, even the woman of the street who shares her favours for money. There are two lovers one a Hindu, one a Muslim, a love which could be doomed. The girl is beautiful, so beautiful she finds herself whisked off to the big movie maker's flat who hopes to get her into the movies in time honoured fashion - the couch. More unusually for a musical there's an Parliamentary election taking place and the young suitor gets accused of terrorism, throughout there are songs, songs with an interesting a vibrant mix of Indian and western style, with back projected scenes from all over India and the world.
There's squeaky roll-on plinths, and apart form the charr (tea) stand the set isn't quite ready. It took this reviewer a day to "get" this musical's irony. My excuse, my own patronising European subconscious. Taking an ironical show about your own cultural icons abroad is a risk, if this was Birmingham or Bradford we'd be more savvy. With an audience more familiar with Bollywood I can see it being a hit. Westerners - go in thinking of A little Shop of Horrors and it'll be fine. Visiting Arts who sponsored this musical should be congratulated for challenging our Western centred view of culture and drama with this show.
© Thelma Good 04 August 2002
Runs till the 11 August at various times not Monday
You Have 38 Messages (page 159)
Venue Gateway Theatre (Venue 7)
Address Elm Row
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat Some will agree that a devised theatre piece is never completed in the true sense of the word. It must, by its nature, constantly ebb and flow. On this occasion, eleven QMUC students have embarked on an ongoing journey of exploration of its various transmutations.
The result is a somewhat uneven but overall interesting show about the freedom of imagination and the dangers of modern day consumerism, which combines narration, video, mime and some good acting from the young cast. With minimum budget, the company has managed to create a multi-layered, if occasionally hermetic, world where imagination intrudes into the drab reality.
One cannot say that this is a flawless production, far from it. However, the cast have managed to turn the flaws to their advantage through sheer tour de force of their performances.
The most interesting thing about it is that the audience's role is more than just to observe. You Have 38 Messages is a show in making where you, as an audience, can email the company your ideas and comments and rest assured that they will be used in its future development. In this sense, the audience can potentially become co-
devisers, co-directors and co-designers. So come and participate in this experiment. It will not disappoint you.
Runs until 26 August (not 21)
© Ksenija Horvat 15 August 2002