Review: Taj Express at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Dave Massey and Julie Wallis

Taj Express at Birmingham Hippodrome

Julie: Fresh from the west end of London and for one week only, Taj Express explodes onto the stage of Birmingham Hippodrome.

Dave: Told as a story within a story we are thrown into the massively creative and fast moving world of Bollywood and in particular the recording studio of a aspirational composer Shankar who is inspired by Oscar Winning composer A.R. Rahman known particularly for the music of Slumdog Millionaire. Indeed the first BIG track is Jai Ho! Which hit the charts with the Pussycat Dolls.

Taj Express
Taj Express

Julie: Taj Express is a wonderfully exciting night. The story is narrated by Shankar (Vidyuth Gargi), we discover how he goes from writing jingles for popadoms, to writing the soundtrack for a huge Bollywood love story. Billed as “the most romantic love story ever told”, we watch scenes of the movie play out in front of us, whilst Shankar tells us what we are watching, and how he got the inspiration to write the music all with a live band on stage throughout.

We meet Kareena Kaboom (Tanvi Patil) one of Bollywood’s biggest leading ladies as she meets and falls in love with Arjun (Hiten Shah) and he falls in love with Kareena, so they run away together, to a village where she is not recognised.

Taj Express
Taj Express

Dave: While the “film” within the story follows quite traditional Bollywood plots there’s many tongue in cheek comments from characters about the structure of Bollywood exploring everything from 80s Hindi love stories to modern hiphop inspired music and the street scene.

Julie: It’s all massively upbeat and has more glitter than an entire season of Strictly Come Dancing, and more dancing too come to think of it. The stage is awash with colour, vibrancy and romance. The big dance scenes are absolutely amazing, so very beautiful and totally better than anything I imagined a stage version of a Bollywood movie could ever capture.

Chandan Raina plays the guitarist and his character Flash also narrates some parts and is perfectly suited to deliver the gentle humour as well as being an extraordinary talent on the guitar.

Dave: There’s a lot to love about Taj Express, its is exhilarating, brash and wants to pull you right into the world of the silver screen. However if you don’t like LOTS of dancing and LOTS of singing then you shouldn’t be at a musical. It’s full on. I loved Jai Ho! and how much the dancers smiled whilst demonstrating their extensive abilities.

Taj Express cast at Birmingham New Street Station
Taj Express cast at Birmingham New Street Station

Julie: I loved every moment of Taj Express. It is colourful, exotic, exciting and the choreography is out of this world. With so many dancers on stage, so very many costume changes , Taj Express is tasty and colourful, just don’t wait until Friday to enjoy this. Last night’s standing ovation says this may well sell out before then.

Taj Express is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 15th September:

This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to check out Taj Express by Birmingham Hippodrome.