We Got Oldham’s Got Britain’s Got Bhangra

The Audience Loved it. We Loved it – It’s on for the rest of the week – go see it!

It’s awesome. Fun, Sad, Uplifting, Silly, everything a Musical should be.

Britains Got Bangra Coliseum 3  Britains Got Bangra Coliseum 1

All the classic elements of the musical are there:
Like the musical with the film “Singing In the Rain” where the guy from the small town with big talent who “gotta dance” is drawn to the big,big city to earn fame an fortune, via setbacks, betrayals and tragedy along the way, fame and humility lost but then re-won with gained wisdom and newly regained heart. *

In this case the “small town” is a village in India where the hero starts out; “the guy” is a man born to sing and the big city is London, England.

Arriving in the UK to work so he is first confronted by the weather in sunny Southall. His goal: to can earn enough for his love to come join him to marry and start a family. Sidetracked by his discovery as a singer by a local entrepreneur with a studio at the back of a sari-shop. He gets caught up in endless touring and the ego-trip of becoming the Bhangra Singing Sensation “Twinkle” and is ultimately dumped by his manager when the next big thing comes along. This time it’s DJs and re-mixers who bypass the need for singers and new songs by simply remixing old ones with a new beat.

We have a surprise son turning up full of dad’s talent, precipitating a family crisis, and much more in a story spanning 3 decades from the Southall Riots of ’77 up until today, touching every pop-culture milestone along the way with changing styles, fashions and music.

From Southall to the suburbs it’s all there: The pre-cellular era “next you’ll be telling me I can put a phone n my pocket”, National Front, Margaret Thatcher, brick sized mobile phones, Charles n Diana (an arranged marriage-yeah), New Labour “red is so my colour”, sampling and the rise of the DJ as star, changing the language innit, from cassettes to mp3’s and right up-to-date with Kate’n’Wills and the Coalition “Yes-blue with a hint of yellow is my colour” and instant-fame TV “Talent” shows. Naturally happiness and family is restored by the conclusion and the rip-off manager gets her come-uppance live on the TV finals of “Britains got Bangra”.

All done with great humour and style and joie-de-vivre topped with a witty social commentary and each change in era prompted by an intros from asian radio reporter whose own progress from underground asian radio to BBC  mirrors the ongoing status of the cross-cultural mix.

Magic.

Rifco Arts at Oldham Coliseum 8-12 Nov 2011

* I originally confused this with “An American in Paris” where the ex-sailor (also Gene Kelly) goes to Paris to pursue his dream of being an artist, and falls for a dance, but he theme still holds true.