Recently I went to the Phoenix theatre in London with my family to watch the hotly anticipated Bend it like Beckham, the musical. Now for those who know the story and loved it this would have been a new venture into the world of theatre and film. The musical was brought to us by the director of the original movie, Gurinder Chadha.
For those of you who aren’t aware of the original story here’s a quick summary:
Jess needs extra time.
She is facing the most important decision of her life: live up to family expectations of university, career and marriage, or follow in the footsteps of her hero David Beckham. When the talented teenager is spotted playing football in Southall, a world of unexpected opportunities opens up before her. But as her sister’s traditional Indian wedding approaches, can she keep her family happy and still follow her dreams?
At times hilarious and touching the movie depicts how two cultures can be merged together to fulfill one’s dreams and ambitions but the biggest step to take is to believe in yourself. The musical follows the same plot and as such the screenplay is brilliant. What adds to this already brilliant story-line is the music. Without a doubt a musical only works if there’s good music and this production gives the audience that in spades.
From the compositions to the lyrics, the music is spectacular on a large scale. It brings to life the whole journey of the main characters and gives us a glimpse into the perspective of the secondary characters. The fusion of Punjabi and English music is one that brings a smile to your face. As someone who’s family originates from Punjab, in India and who has grown up listening to Punjabi music, this was a real pleasure. But even for those not familiar with the language or music could be seen singing, clapping and dancing to the beat of the desi drums. The music is original and authentic in every way and for me it completely sold the production and gave theatre lovers something they enjoy the most, being entertained to the max.
Although I believe the music was the selling point, it would be silly not to commend the effort put in by the incredibly talented actors, their hard work definitely paid off. There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t hooked by the characterisations from the actors. They were brilliant. I don’t think I could pick out one actor who didn’t live up to the performance that was promised and for me that was definitely a huge and welcoming surprise.
If you love a fusion of two cultures with a story-line that entertains from start to finish then this production is definitely worth a watch. For all those people who believe in dreams and desires, this musical teaches you to never give up and to believe in your abilities and yourself. A fantastic watch for individuals of all ages and an inspiration to the youngsters of this generation. Go enjoy a family day out or a take a few friends and be entertained for 2 and half hours. You won’t regret it.
Thank you to the Phoenix theatre and all those involved in the production of this musical for bringing this joyous new British musical comedy to the west-end.
You can find out more about the musical in the following places: