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REVIEW - Frankie Goes To Bollywood is uplifting with plenty of sparkle and joy!


On Thursday, we were invited to HOME, Manchester to watch Frankie Goes To Bollywood. Read what our reviewer, Lizzie Johnston thought about this enjoyable production...

From first walking into HOME MCR to leaving at the end of the night, the place was buzzing and vibrant. I walked in to find a crowd swarming around an Indian dancer who was enchanting the foyer area. I instantly knew I’d be in for a colourful delight and headed to my seat eager to watch the show unfold. 

The musical itself is brand new, which added to the audience’s excitement, because no one us really knew what to expect. Frankie Goes To Bollywood is from the makers of Britain’s Got Bhangra and is described as Rifco Theatre’s most ambitious musical yet. The story is inspired by real stories of British women in the Bollywood spotlight, the biggest film industry in the world, and closely follows Frankie as she goes from a quiet life in Milton Keynes to claiming the staircase of stardom. 

It tackles the themes of female empowerment, fame and fortune all through the lens of Bollywood beauty and the classic ‘hero saves young, pretty girl’ storyline - though this is exactly what Frankie tries to tackle in the industry, she wants to be the hero herself and change the perception of women in Bollywood movies. 

The score was spectacular throughout with real uplifting and inspiring melodies, exactly what you want from a glittering musical. Paired with the talented cast, the toe-tapping songs were swirling round my head for the rest of the night! There was a real mix of songs in the show, and the musical elements were constant throughout with a song for every scene. 

The set and costumes were FAB-U-LOUS and really embraced the beauty and glamour of Bollywood - I should’ve worn sparkles! Not a sequin was out of place. The overall set was basic with larger props brought on to transform the location from England to India, and from a cinema to a film set. The transitions were smooth and fast-paced, which kept the production upbeat and didn’t allow for any breaks in the audience’s attention. 

Laila Zaidi (Three Acts Of Love, Little Bits Of Light, West Side Story), who takes on the role of Frankie, is a true star. I fully believed in her character and just constantly smiled as we watched Frankie’s dreams come true. Even in the darker moments where Frankie questioned her choices and missed home, I still found myself routing for her. 

Frankie couldn’t have taken to Bollywood without the support of her best friend Goldy, played by Katie Stasi (Roles We’ll Never Play, Dick Whittington, Wizard of Oz). Goldy is the dreamer of the two, she’s the one who wants to be a star and take on the film industry though it’s Frankie who gets the chance. In a test of true friendship, Goldy couldn’t be more supportive and encouraging, which makes for a heartwarming pair. I loved Goldy’s self-confidence and motivation, she’s a positive force and knows exactly what she wants for her life. 

I particularly enjoyed the Bollywood references with overdramatic moments where fans would be brought on stage, the actors would move in slow motion and the score would build up. It had a great comedic effect and was just pure fun. 

I can’t talk about the comedy without mentioning Gigi Zahir (Tempest, Fame Whore, Cinderella), who played Shona Chatterji. I can’t tell you exactly what his character did because he had the longest CV Bollywood has probably seen - which became an ongoing joke. He was brilliant and brought the sass to the stage, not forgetting his fantastic outfits. 

Frankie Goes To Bollywood  is everything you’d want for an uplifting theatre experience - sparkle, joy and a little bit of cheese. It’s like one of those comfort films you’d put on Netflix when you’re not feeling too good, it’s familiar and pure happiness. It has the potential to go far with a standout cast and great score and I am so glad to have experienced the premiere run. 


Frankie Goes To Bollywood is on at HOME until Saturday 25th May 2024.


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