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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


 Acclaimed Tribhangi Dance Company turns its focus to Bollywood. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The acclaimed Tribhangi Dance Company headed by award-winning choreographer Jayesperi Moopen, has turned its attention to Bollywood in its latest show, Oh Golly, it’s Bolly!, currently running at The Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City.

Tribhangi often travels to Durban to perform at major corporate events such as COP17 and will be represented at the forthcoming BRICS conference. The company is best known for Talas in Conversation (Winner of the FNB Vita Award) and its signature piece Circles and Squares.

The reason for my taking the unusual step of reviewing a production in Johannesburg that isn’t planned to have a Durban run, was to support KZN award-winning actress, Shika Budhoo, who has recently relocated to Johannesburg.

Amid the glitzy costumes – and there many of them – she appears as a dotty old lady with a grey wig and stooped posture, known as Aunty Bolly. Her name is apt because she’s hooked on Bollywood. “I’m old but not cold,”’ she quips, explaining that the secret of her sprightly energy is “A Bollywood movie a day keeps the doctor away”.

To prove this, she gradually gets “younger” as the show progresses. The grey wig gradually makes way for her own dark locks and the stoop disappears. Mind you, this “old lady” showed remarkable agility in one of the numbers that dealt with gangsters, when she was on her knees, swaying back and forth with her “weapons” (plastic knives).

The costumes are attractive and there is a never-ending stream of them, from flowing skirts and beaded waistcoats to glittering bodices and shiny pants.

Jayesperi Moopen, the Artistic Director of Tribhangi Dance Theatre, acknowledges that this production is out of Tribhangi’s “comfort zone” and a major departure from its usual work. However, the dancers rise to the occasion and put in good performances in a fast-moving programme which does occasionally slow down a bit - an amusing section about smoking weed was a case in point.

Vocals are handled by Roselyn Mangor and Suraj Jewan, the latter impressing with his charm and singing ability.

As is usual in Bollywood tribute productions, a screen carries the film images while the dancers reflect the songs in movement. The image of a gilt-edged frame provides the surface on which the Bollywood movies are played. However, this was a great disappointment as it is not a screen as such but rather a section of material hung from the flies without tension pulling the fabric into place. This means that the movies are played onto a wavy surface which makes it difficult to identify what’s going on - and the lighting doesn’t help!

However, these are issues that didn’t bother the audience on the afternoon I went. The usherettes and bar staff entered into the spirit of the rhythms and movements and their enthusiasm was infectious.

Oh Golly, it’s Bolly! runs at The Globe Theatre, Gold Reef City until March 31. Booking is at Computicket. Tribhangi is sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. More information from – Caroline Smart