The Merchants of Bollywood is more like a pantomime than a dance show. There is lots of vibrant choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant, but the amount of glitter and melodramatic acting gives it a less than sophisticated feel.
In a sentimental story that charts both the history of Bollywood and a daughter going against her father’s wishes, there is lots of slapstick comedy and dialogue. As for the choreography, it’s lively but frequently lacks finesse, with the performers at times out of sync and appearing under-rehearsed.
Bollywood fans will no doubt enjoy the many references to well-known films and their stars, which were unfortunately lost on us. For non-Bollywood aficionados, there are still some funny moments but the show’s prime attraction is in its dancing, which doesn’t properly get going until after the interval.
Once the performers are in full flow, there is plenty to like and their energy is infectious, making us wish this level of performance had been displayed throughout the show.
A large proportion of the audience last night at the Peacock Theatre seemed enthralled by The Merchants of Bollywood, but we won’t be rushing to see it again.
The Merchants of Bollywood is at the Peacock Theatre in Holborn until 15 February. Tickets priced £18-45 are available from the Sadler’s Wells website. Londonist received a complimentary ticket to review this production.