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December 2015 – Active Bookings

Bend it Like a Beckham – London Musical

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Bend it Like a Beckham – London Musical

Bend-it-Like-Beckham-The-Musical-photo-Ellie-Kurttz1-1024x683Jess needs extra time.

She is facing the most important decision of her life: live up to family expectations of university, career and marriage, or follow in the footsteps of her hero David Beckham. When the talented teenager is spotted playing football in Southall, a world of unexpected opportunities opens up before her. But as her sister’s traditional Indian wedding approaches, can she keep her family happy and still follow her dreams?

Bend It Like Beckham is a joyous new British musical comedy. Featuring an original score with an Indian kick, it brings a unique cultural fusion of musical theatre to the stage for the first time. This re imagining of the much-loved hit film sees generations, cultures and communities brought together in this joyous and uplifting story about bending the rules and scoring that deciding goal.

Natalie-Dew-in-Bend-It-Like-Beckham-The-Musical-photo-Ellie-Kurttz1-e1435240196652“Initially I resisted the suggestion to give Bend It Like Beckham a musical treatment, but as time went on I realised how significant I thought the film had been in terms of race relations in this country, the presence of the Asian community and how very little came after it that celebrated who we are as a nation in the same way. I had been deeply moved by Billy Elliot the Musical and loved how it had crystallized a particular moment in history, so I began to reconsider.


Developing Bend it Like Beckham for the stage, has been the most enjoyable creative process of my career so far. What I have been very lucky to do, is to surround myself with people who I think are exceptional, at not only being at the top of their game, but who completely understand what we are trying to do. What you will see in Bend It Like Beckham is the result of 4 years’ worth of collaboration: multiple workshops with musicians, actors, dancers and of course footballers.

Our ambition, is to create a totally new British musical, with a different musical language. A musical that speaks to us of today, the last 30, 40 years of Britain and of where we are as a nation. The Asian influences that are there are basically Punjabi West London – those that I have grown up with – fused with West End musical influences.

What we are trying to do is make a stakehold for those of us who believe we live in a brilliant nation that is all the better for being as diverse and as interesting culturally as it is, and that it isn’t just one community that has created this.”

Gurinder Chadha, Writer and Director

Director of the original hit film, Gurinder Chadha directs, with choreography and musical staging by Aletta Collins (Anna Nicole, ROH).  Bend It Like Beckham is written by Paul Mayeda Berges Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham (film), Bride & Prejudice). The original score is an East-West fusion of Bhangra and soaring melodies with music by Howard Goodall (Love Story, The Hired Man), lyrics by Charles Hart (Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love) and orchestrations by Howard Goodall and pioneer of British Bhangra sound, Kuljit Bhamra.

December 20, 2015 / 1 Comment / by / in
A Christmas Carol – Review

There is something warmly comforting about walking into a theatre during the festive period, already having a good idea of what you are about to witness.
Charles Dickens’ timeless classic ‘A Christmas Carol’has been performed on stage countless times (and will no doubt continue to entertain and educate the young and young-at-heart for many generations to come). But the current incarnation at the Noel Coward Theatre, adapted by Patrick Barlow and produced by Sonia Friedman, brings a welcomed breath of fresh air to the tale first published in 1843.

Thanks largely to the imaginative director-designer collaboration between Phelim McDermott and Tom Pye, we are reminded of the beauty of theatricality. The story literally unfolds on the stage like a pop-up book with ingenious and mostly 2D sets. Whether they are attached to the central pole axis in the middle of the stage which functions like the spine of a book or seamlessly brought on and off from the wings, Tom Pye lets us appreciate the charm of the physical, whilst allowing our imaginations to create a fuller 3D scene in our own minds. (Top) hats off to the team of Jackie Orton, Melody Wood, Katy Adeney and Hayley Gittins who provide an onslaught of impressive Dickensian costumes and wigs, which must be both authentic and practical at the same time due to the excessive quick costume changes by the cast of seven.

That leads us nicely to the players on these pop-up pages. Of course the big draw of this production is the return of Oscar, BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jim Broadbent to the stage – after a ten year absence. I was curious to see how the man, who I would personally cast as every “kind gentleman in his 60’s” role going, would fare with the iconic, mean-spirited character of Ebenezer Scrooge. Broadbent certainly does not dissapoint. Yes, he relishes and excells most in the humour of the writing, but is firmly and convincingly resolute at fighting off the inevitable change-of-heart for most of the evening’s proceedings. His facial expressions are irresistable, especially during the physical comedy moments of flying with the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present.

I can only imagine the chaos in the wings as the uber-talented supporting cast of Adeel Akhtar, Amelia Bullmore, Keir Charles, Samantha Spiro, James Parker and Kim Scopes, take on multiple roles and seemingly impossible costume changes and also double-up as puppeteers along the way. I simply can’t praise their talents enough.

My only slight confusion is perhaps a result of Patrick Barlow’s adaptation. At times the script is a little unfocused and breaks the fourth wall often enough that we ask ourselves if we are meant to be guests at a pantomime. The play-within-a-play concept is also surplus to requirements in my opinion, but these minor hiccups cannot take away the overall charm and wonderful ingenuity of a production literally brought to life from page to stage by a glorious ensemble cast who perfectly compliment the national treasure that is Jim Broadbent.

A Christmas Carol is booking at Noel Coward until 30 January 2016.

Posted By Tom Millward

Rating: ****

Article from TheatrePeople

December 20, 2015 / 1 Comment / by / in
Venezuelan Christmas Dish – Hallaca

hallacasIn Venezuelan cuisine, an hallaca is a dish of beef, pork, chicken, fish or other seafoods, mixed with raisins, capers, and olives and wrapped in cornmeal dough, all folded within plantain leaves, tied with strings, and boiled or steamed afterwards. It is typically served during the Christmas holidays.


Ingredients (servings 4-6)

    • 1 12lbs diced beef
    • 1 12lbs diced pork
    • 2 cups of water
    • 4 garlic cloves (crashed)
    • 1 cup of canned chick-peas
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 tomatoes, chopped
    • 4 onions, chopped
    • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
    • 1teaspoon of ground dried chili
    • 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
    • 4 teaspoons of salt
    • 3 tablespoons of vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons of capers (optional)
    • 1cup of seedless raisins
    • 1cup sliced stuffed olives
    • 3 cups of cornmeal (best option is Harina Pan Blanca – for true Venezuelan taste)
  • 4 cups of boiling water
  • 1cup of butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Cooking and Preparation

  1. fotos-hallacasCombine beef, pork, water, and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. Drain and chop coarsely. Add the chickpeas, mixing lightly.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the tomatoes, onions, peppers, chile, parsley, 2 tsp of salt, vinegar, sugar and the meat mixture. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the capers, raisins, and olivs. Mix lightly, set aside.
  4. Mix the cornmeal with a little cold water. Add to the boiling water in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Add the butter and remaining salt. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, beating until a smooth dough is formed.
  5. Butter a 3-qt round or square baking dish. Line it with 2/3 of the cornmeal mixture and pour the meat mixture into it. Spread the remaining corn meal on top. Cover the dish with a piece of foil and tie it. Place in a pan of water. Bake at 350 deg. F for 1 hour.
  6. Venezuelan method: The dish is prepared in teh form of tamales. Banana leaves are used for warpping the hallacas, but foil or parchment paper will serve as a substitute. Cut 10in squares of either. Spread about 4 tbsp of the cornmeal dough in the center and press as thin as possible. Place 2 tbsp of the meat mixture on the dough and fold over, sealing the edges as well as possible. If the dough breaks, patch it wiht a little more dough. Fold the paper around the hallacas carefully and tie securely. If foil is used, it is not necessary to tie it. Boil in a large saucepan of salted water for 1.5 hours

Don’t have time cooking ? Living in London?

Then You should definitely  visit Mi Cocina es Tuya – Award winning Venezuelan Restaurant in Crystal Palace SE19 London


December 5, 2015 / by / in

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