The world premiere of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s uplifting comedy drama Dishoom! comes to the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch later this month (25 – 29 September) as part of a national UK tour. The production stars 17-year-old Bilal Khan, from Ilford, who makes his professional stage debut in the lead role of Simon.
Featuring music and playful re-enactments from the smash hit Bollywood film Sholay, this new play about friendship and courage set in 1970s Britain is co-produced by Rifco Theatre Company and Watford Palace Theatre with Oldham Coliseum Theatre (Miss Meena & the Masala Queens, The Deranged Marriage and Britain’s Got Bhangra).
Bilal Khan himself was born with cerebral palsy and will be taking on the role of a young man with a disability who is struggling to find his place in the world around him. He says, ‘I can’t wait to start my first professional acting journey with this leading British Asian theatre company. The team have been really supportive throughout this opportunity from assisting with my touring needs to professional development workshops. I am honoured to be involved with this brilliant piece of new writing.’
Khan will be joined by Elijah Baker (On the Middle Day, The Old Vic); Seema Bowri (My Country, National Theatre); Georgia Burnell (professional debut), Omar Ibrahi (Ricky Whittington; New Diorama Theatre); Gurkiran Kaur (The Test, Southwark Playhouse) and James Mace (Desperate Measures, Jermyn Street Theatre).
The story follows Simon and his friends; they should be looking forward to leaving school, but the National Front are on the streets, Simon’s Bibi is ashamed of him and his Dad spends his life hiding in the pub. When Simon’s cousin Baljit comes to stay, she introduces him to the Bollywood classic, Sholay. Inspired by the film’s dynamic duo, Jai and Veeru, Simon and Baljit find their inner superheroes and set out to change their world forever.
A Dementia Friendly performance of Dishoom! will take place on Thursday 27 September at 1.30pm in addition to an Audio Described performance on Saturday 29 September at 2.30pm
Dishoom! runs at the Queen’s Theatre from 25 – 29 September. Tickets are £12 – £22 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01708 443333, in person at the theatre or online here.