Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bombay Dreams - Sacramento Broadway Series

Bollywood: The Hollywood of India. The dream of every child born into the slums. But how on Earth can any young person from the slums make his way into the films of Bollywood? It could only happen with the handsome and charming Akaash and some help from his friends Sweetie and Priya, the finance of the powerful Vikram and daughter of the film maker Madan.

This production of the fantastical Bollywood-esque Bollywood story is an extremely entertaining show. The sets, lights, talent and music will stick with you for days after the show is over. John McLain's lighting design keep the audience interested and captivated by the constantly changing but natural lights. Of course, the story by Thomas Meehan and Meera Syal allots for extreme changes in lights and sets that occur extremely rapidly. The story also allow for technically helpful moments. The set at two moments, sprouting a fountain in the center of the stage, soaks the stage with water. However, given the Bollywood movie set setting, this is easily remedied by stagehands who enter with mops once the scene is filmed.

The set itself is a spectacle. With the slums flying in and out of the stage and the frame of film set scaffolding, the stage is readily morphable from slums to set to balcony of a wealthy home and back again. The backdrops of skies and billboards are subtly extravagant.

Though some of the performance was lacking in a feeling of realism, it was, on the whole, very well done. The shining stars of this production include Aneesh Sheth as Sweetie, the Eunuch in love with Akaash, and Sandra Allen as Rani, the leading lady of the silver screen. Sheth's performance has the audience on the edge of each seat with his incredible vocal skill and Allen's stage presence is undeniably strong, yet reserved.

All-in-all, Director Baayork Lee's production is a remarkable achievement and a very entertaining show. Though it has it's issues in the feeling of truth behind the actor's performances, the vocal talent and the design of the production are very well done.

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