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Review: How To Make A Killing In Bollywood at Newcastle Northern Stage

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Northumberland Theatre Company and The Bijli Project presents
How To Make A Killing In Bollywood
Newcastle Northern Stage
Until Friday 4th November 2016

Then Saturday 5th November 2016at Longformacus Village Hall, Borders

Written and devised by Umar Ahmed & Manjot Sumal
Directed by Umar Ahmed
Designed by Michelle Huitson

After success at Edinburgh Fringe and on tour, How To Make A Killing In Bollywood lands in Newcastle and it is easy to see why it has been so popular. Mixing a great comedy script with music and dance it is another example of why we love visiting Northern Stage.

Poor Raza (Umar Ahmed) dreams of success as an actor but his roles have been limited to those requiring Asian Males. He has had bit parts as a taxi driver, corner shop keeper, doctor, terrorist – all of the stereotypes that go with what people assume he can play. He wants a role in which he is simply cast as a male actor, who just happens to be Asian. Between the auditions and roles he works in the kitchen of his mate’s Scottish take away. Whilst Gurjeet (Manjot Sumal) owns the place, it is Chacha (Adam Buksh) whom everyone takes notice of.

Photo: Keith Pattison
Sick of making cheesy chips for drunks at kicking out time and going to bed stinking of onions Raza decides a trip to India in order to launch a film career in Bollywood is the answer to his dreams. Gurjeet agrees to come along for the ride, leaving ChaCha in charge of the business. The tale then follows the journey around Mumbai and the people they meet including Varsha the dancer (Storm-Skyler McClure).

There is great chemistry between Umar and Manjot, as the best friends who go on the trip of a lifetime, which help make the story believable. Added to this is great support in a variety of roles from Adam and Storm-Skyler.

Photo: Keith Pattison
Of course there are a number of issues being dealt with throughout the tale, from the  lack of roles for minority actors and the stereotyping that occurs in such roles, through to the quality of life of Mubai’s inhabitants. None of the issues are given the heavy handed treatment and, whilst there’s plenty to think about afterwards, the show doesn’t forget it is billed as a comedy.

The show gives the audience plenty to laugh with and it isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall and involve the audience occasionally. The action occasionally stops for a quick blast of amazing Bollywood-style dancing as light relief. Choreographer Storm-Skyler McClure has created some really tight routines that add to the flavour of the show.

A great story coupled with characters that we can relate to and an engaging cast are a recipe for a great night at the theatre.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver the North East Theatre Guide – follow Stephen at @panic_c_button

Running time: 2 hours including interval


Thursday 3rd - Friday 4th November at 7pm

Tickets: £15.50 / £13.50 concessions


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