I had the pleasure of attending the press night of Curve Theatre’s Bollywood Jane last night and what I expected to be a cute summer night musical turned out to be something much more complex. The experience – because there is no better way to describe it – started as soon as the audience walked into the studio space. Bollywood Jane was performed in one of Curve’s Studios, which was a brilliant directorial decision in my opinion. It got rid of that traditional separation that is between an audience and a stage, because we were so close to the performing space, bringing a different perspective to the play. I think it worked really well to create a feeling of familiarity and community.

Chloe Wilson (Jane) and the cast of Bollywood Jane
Pamela Raith Photography

Community was one of the driving forces of this project, as the play is set in Leicester, portraying ordinary people and their lives and problems. It featured ensemble cast from the Leicester community and the Curve Young Company and these people created a perfect not-perfect performance that charmed the audience.

Walking into the space, I could feel the love and care that was put into this production. Fairy lights and garlands were hanging from the ceiling, decorating the auditorium – an unusual feature in a traditional theatre production, where the decorations usually stop on the stage. They had a fix stage and background already set up, bright colours and subtle but important touches of the so-called Bollywood-vibe. I was intrigued at first glance…

… and I was not disappointed. Beautifully choreographed dance numbers, with the ensemble wearing colourful saris, no shoes and massive smiles. The plot exactly what it promised, yes, a cute summer night musical but with actors who clearly enjoyed what they were doing, and with actual real-life issues surfacing that made me sit up straighter in my seat, thinking ‘I did not expect them to go there’…

Rebekah Fleming (Kate) and Chloe Wilson (Jane) in Bollywood Jane
Pamela Raith Photography

Bollywood Jane surprised me in a good way, it was more than I thought it would be and when I came out of the studio after a little more than 2 hours, I somehow felt like a part of that community that just performed for me. I felt closer to Leicester, closer to the people around me and closer to theatre as a whole. It was amazing to see and learn more about a different culture through this play and I would recommend that all theatre-lovers, Bollywood-lovers, dance-lovers, life-lovers in Leicester to go and see this play to be reminded of the great things that are around us. Thank you, Curve! Thank you, Bollywood Jane!