Thursday, 10 December 2015

Bend It Like Beckham


I haven't written any theatre reviews recently. Which is partly laziness, I admit, but mostly because I haven't actually been to the theatre that much in the past 6 months. In fact, I have only been four times since the summer which is UNHEARD OF for me - but moving down to the south coast, and so far away from London evidently has its price. Plus I have a job now...yup...really... (I don't like being a grown up).

After I saw Bend it Like Beckham last night though (which you can buy tickets for here), I was adamant I wanted to discuss it with you all. I have been excited about this musical for a VERY long time, ever since it was announced that it was coming to the West End. I was a huge fan of the film starring Keira Knightley (did that really come out in 2002?!!!! That makes me feel old) so the story was always going to be a winner for me. And, as long as they didn't change it too much, they couldn't really go wrong.

They were very faithful to the story, which was great and I breathed a massive sigh of relief when I realised that they were sticking with it. They included all those little funny moments, which made the film so good.

The difficult part was always going to be the staging of the show though, particularly all the football bits. I was so interested to see how they were going to do it - and I am pleased to report it was very well executed. Sometimes they used lights in place of a football and sometimes they put the football on a string both of which sound a bit naff, but was forgivable due to plenty of actual football skill being included. I was very impressed to see that not one ball rolled off the stage or even where it shouldn't on the stage as it could have done so easily. There was headering, kicky-ups, kicking into a bag of balls (well caught Jamie Campbell Bower!!) and some gentle passing as well as all kinds of training exercises...I think I may be in awe of the fitness of the cast. There was a huge amount of running on the spot and pelting around the stage, more so than in your average musical but they did not let their energy dwindle throughout the entirety of the show. A feat in itself.

They were an extremely strong cast, both literally and figuratively. Newcomer Natalie Dew (playing the lead, Jess Bhamra) shone within the group of jewels and equalled Lauren Samuels' (Jules) slightly more experienced skill. They were incredibly well matched and I enjoyed the progression that their friendship went through. A lot of people come to see Jamie Campbell Bower playing Joe (who is famous for his film roles in Sweeney Todd and Twilight). I think he was potentially the weakest of the cast as his voice was a little thin, but that's not to say he was bad and I enjoyed the suavely arrogant portrayal of Joe he offered.

Bend It Like Beckham is not exactly a sophisticated musical but it is a fun, colourful production with some (perhaps a few too many) catchy songs that are emotive and funny at appropriate moments. It has so much going on you barely know where to look - really really worth a visit.

**This post was sponsored by the lovely people at BoxOffice.co.uk but, of course, all the opinions expressed here are my own =]

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