This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to review Stardust by Belgrade Theatre.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Dave Massey spoke to Harriette Mullen and Christoph L. Dorocant appearing in Stardust. Listen back here:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Please note this production contains violent scenes and use of homophobic language and misogynistic behaviour.
Written by Shahid Iqbal Khan, Directed and co-written by Samir Bhamra.
Belgrade Theatre’s intimate B2 stage is home to Stardust until Saturday 21st September and this LGBT+ Bollywood inspired musical has a lot to say for itself.
Amar (Robby Khela) has vocal talent, the dance moves and boyband good looks and beautiful women on his arm. Amar also has what he thinks is a secret. This secret is Seth (Aizaac Sidhu) his close personal “friend” who really has been his boyfriend for nearly four years.
Amar’s mother Shelia (Nataylia Roni) has bagged Amar a manager Delante (Amanda Clapham), to drive his career forward and wants shady music mogul Cyrus Singhania (Christoph L. Dorocant) to mentor him for success. Except Cyrus has his own secrets, and Amar is about to painfully discover them.
Helped by his physical stature Christoph L. Dorocant is intimidating and creepy as Cyrus and his anger feels pretty real as he manipulates those around him from the second he sets foot on stage. Painted as an archetypal villain his character plays cat and mouse with those around him. In contrast, Bobby Khela’s ambitious Amar is torn between his career and his personal life, his hunger for stardom and his wish for a regular private life collide throughout. As his Momager (Mother/Manager), Shelia is blinkered to the truth in front of her eyes and Shelia’s (Nataylia Roni) frustration with her son feels raw as her character misses her own stardom.
On the surface, Stardust looks like a light, fun, musical with fairytale tones. But the dark undercurrents display the depth of the characters and the story itself. Aizaac Sidhu, kind and caring Seth was the character I attached to the most as the others are all parts of a machine in the music industry. Seth sings from the heart to us and at times it is heartbreaking.
Sophie Kandola‘s excellent vocals and touching performance as abused singer Amor made me smile and shake in different ways. There are more great vocals from Harriette Mullen‘s new singer Tara who is ready to show she has what it takes on the global stage.
Two interwoven themes that Stardust relies on for its storytelling are reincarnation and regressional therapy and I wasn’t sure how audiences might readily accept such ideas. It certainly plays into the Stardust title of magic in the air.
The three-sided stage is used to its full extent with characters arriving and departing into the audience as well as from the rear of the stage. A reflective vinyl floor, tube LED lighting and a string silver curtain make an effective club/stage style landscape with a huge rig of lighting which tells us the year and location easily. Furniture pieces help us understand the location from the therapist’s room to the managers office and hospital.
After 2018’s We’ll Live and Die in These Towns, Belgrade has presented yet another alternative musical hit in its lineup, this time with Phizzical Productions. Fun, dark, and sometimes challenging Stardust is at Belgrade Theatre until Saturday 21st September. Book tickets here: belgrade.co.uk/event/stardust
Belgrade Theatre is ten minutes walk from Coventry Railway Station (20-25 minutes by train from Birmingham New Street Station).
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre,
Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.