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TOP 10 theatre plays of Pravesh Kumar

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A LONG list of acclaimed plays has turned Rifco into one of the UK’s most successful touring theatre companies.

Led admirably by talented artistic director Pravesh Kumar MBE, the pioneering London-based creative collective adds to its impressive roster with Frankie Goes To Bollywood, which premieres at Watford Palace Theatre next Thursday (25) before embarking on a UK tour until July 20.

The colourful musical explores Bollywood through the eyes of a young British Asian woman and takes a deep dive into an industry with a hidden dark side.

Eastern Eye got the show’s creator to select 10 theatre plays he has loved.

Hamilton.

Hamilton: I only got into this massively in demand Lin Manuel Miranda show because of Hurricane Katrina and someone had to cancel their tickets. I saw this on Broadway, with my mouth hanging in absolute awe. The music, and modern storytelling juxtaposed with timeless history and rap made it ground-breaking.

The Play That Goes Wrong: I love this play because it took a form that existed for many years and made it accessible to a huge audience. Having delighted audiences for over a decade, it was really funny and didn’t take itself too seriously. It has so many great observations.

East Is East: I remember watching this Ayub Khan Din written play and feeling really validated that our stories were important on stage. It’s political and has a dark undertone while still being very funny. The rest is history.

Nine Nights: I’ve never been in a theatre before where the black community had come to love a play, like this, and see themselves on stage roaring with laughter in the aisles. They recognised every beat on stage of this play written by Natasha Gordon, and I loved it.

Khandan: This domestic drama about a Punjabi family by Gurpreet K Bhatti was both authentic and moving. I loved that it meant something because the stories are universal. It was a family drama, and it was our family.

Kinky Boots: This is a fantastic musical based on a movie, which was inspired by true events, had great songs and a unique story that is truly about the underdog. It’s about a community coming together and making change. It deals with the LGBTQ+ story without preaching to the converted.

Britian Got Bhangra

Britain’s Got Bhangra: This Rifco production felt like a real British musical with political verve, great songs and a really authentic bhangra story. It deserved its time in the sun again. It was ground-breaking for its time and blended the bhangra story juxtaposed with the changing political landscape in Britain.

Dreamgirls: This is the only show I’ve ever seen where there was a standing ovation at the interval. Beautiful storytelling, incredible performances and songs that will stand the test of time.

The P Word

The P Word: This beautiful docu-play by Waheed Akhtar is about falling in love with an unexpected person in a world that is difficult. It is both political and immensely moving. The staging and storytelling were outstanding. It’s not often you see brown LGBTQ+ stories like this on stage.

 When the Crows Visit: Inspired by true events, this drama by Anupama Chandrasekhar looked at the relationships between men and women and some really difficult questions that need to be asked in modern society. It was moving and horrific with some outstanding performances.

Frankie Goes To Bollywood at Watford Palace Theatre until May 11. HOME (Manchester) May 15-25, Beck Theatre (Hayes) May 28-June 1, Queen’s Theatre (Hornchurch) June 4-9, Grand Theatre (Wolverhampton) June 11-15, Alhambra (Bradford) June 18- 22, Theatre Royal (Windsor) June 25-29, Belgrade Theatre (Coventry) July 2-6, New Theatre (Cardiff) July 16-20. For further details, check www.rifcotheatre.com

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