Bhangra Nation Is Just A Sheer Joy

Sometimes a musical comes along that is just what is needed in the current space and time. Bhangra Nation, which had its press night at the Birmingham Rep last night, is just that. It is a joyous riot of colour and goodwill, with the biggest heart you will find in theatre this year. It is, quite simply, a beautiful triumph that should not be missed.

Image Craig Sugden

Bhangra Nation is the story of a successful Bhangra dance troupe the T.I.G.R.E.S, and one member, Mary, who is told by a fellow member Preeti, that she does not belong. Preeti is Punjabi, and believes their routines should be pure Bhangri, whilst Mary, whose dad was white, wants to add other traditional ideas to the mix. Mary is urged to form her own dance group by best friend Sunita, but the people who turn up to audition are a disparate group, each, in their own way, looking for something that is missing in their life, and a place to belong.The group start to come together, but Mary trusts her own instincts and instead brings in an expert, Rekha. Whist this is happening, Preeti and the Tigres are having issues of their own. It will all come to a head at the Bhangra Nation competition in Chicago.

Image Craig Sugden

The cast are fabulous, all being super talented. Stand outs include Jena Pandya as Mary, an utterly sympathetic lead, and Zaynah Ahmed as the prickly, but ultimately insecure Preeti. They clash beautifully in The Baile Baile Ballet scene. I loved Ivan Fernandez Gonzalez as Billy, another who didn’t feel he belonged, as shown in the brilliant Toledo number. Siobhan Athwal is a stunning musical powerhouse as the often hilarious Sunita, whilst Sohm Kapila is a real scene stealer as Rekha. It must be said, however, that every member of the cast is simply perfect, this is just a stunning ensemble.

This production is incredible to look at, visually stunning in both sets and costumes, and using modern technology perfectly, like in the text message ‘dot, dot, dot’ scene. The dances are energetic and totally make you want to jump on your feet, whilst the songs are lovely. In short, everything works.

Bhangra Nation is like a glimpse of the sunshine on the rainiest of days, a must see this Spring. It’s an absolute triumph.


A New Musical

Sat 17 Feb – Sat 16 Mar

Click here for ticket information


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