national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, August 27, 2011


(Pic by Val Adamson: Yarisha Rajcomar)

In her first theatre script, Yarisha Rajcomar plays Bollywood Doll with a spunky energy. (Review by Janet Whelan)

Bollywood Doll is the first full local theatrical show produced by Imagination Unlimited and is ably directed by Caroline Smart.

In her first theatre script, Yarisha Rajcomar – who also plays Dolly, the Bollywood Doll – has created a vibrant and entertaining storyline, with script assistance by Clinton Marius who writes Lotus FM’s popular Lollipop Lane, in which she plays the character of Carmen.

The dance sequences are created by award-winning choreographer Nitin Dass who has been imported from Mumbai for the show. In their first production, Imagination Unlimited has relied heavily on Nitin's expertise.

This is the first time that Yarisha Rajcomar has appeared as an actress in a major stage show, although she is no stranger to the Bollywood style: “I have had the opportunity of learning and working with Bollywood choreographers before but this is the first time that I have had the chance to host a choreographer in Durban for a theatre show so the experience has been truly enjoyable,” she says in an artSMart interview. “Nitin knew about my experience and ability before he arrived in Durban so it was really easy for us to work together. I learn something from every choreographer I work with which improves me as a dancer. Nitin has given me a lot of freedom to perform my dance pieces according to my feeling for the song and this has allowed me to bring my character to life.”

The setting for Bollywood Doll is a rundown and neglected toyshop with a charming backdrop created by multi-award-winning designer Greg King and many of the hired props are those he designed for other productions.

Giving a spunky energy to the role, Yarisha plays the central character of Dolly, a little rag doll who is worried that she will be withdrawn from her shelf and replaced by the digital toys favoured by so many young children today. Dolly shares her shelf with her long-term friends.

Fairy is played with charm by Adi Paxton (better known as Cherry the Clown) with a wealth of performing experience behind her. Endearing in the role of Teddy is Farai Gwaze who will be remembered for his role in Think Theatre's Othello in which he impressed audiences both young and old with his dramatic ability.

Playing Tin-Tin, and drawing many laughs as the toy soldier, is Sudhir Kuldip in his first major acting role. He also plays Pieter de Bruin, the investigative reporter from the Toy Times. As the forthright and ditsy Malibu Barbie, there’s Rikki Hastings who is well-known for her roles in Sue Clarence Productions' annual adult pantomimes. Despite being involved in a serious car accident two days before opening night, she gave no sign of a lack of focus.

The toys discover that Dolly carries a tag that states “Made in Bollywood” and they come to learn what the term means as sayings and customs are interpreted by a group of dancers.

While not familiar enough with the genre to criticise the Bollywood dancing, I have seen enough dance productions to say that I found the moves thoroughly fascinating and entertaining. The dancers are young and from a dance school, so they could perhaps be excused for missed steps and not being quite in sync with their fellow performers at times. The colourful costume changes, flowing skirts, flags and scarves make this production highly visual.

Unlike in so many local musical productions, the sound was bearable and good, although if the music had been faded into the dialogue that followed, the flow of the sequences would not have appeared so disjointed.

Bollywood Doll is a delightfully humorous and vibrant show which focuses on a sense of belonging. It is suitable for the whole family and offers a tale of friendship, support and belief in life.

Bollywood Doll runs at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom until September 1. Tickets R120 pp available from Computicket. - Janet Whelan