Empowering and engaging ‘West Bollywood’ comically breaks taboos

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Indonesian playwright Aruna Harjani’s West Bollywood merrily combines excellent acting and an unconventional story in an entertaining, romantic concoction of music, mirth and merriment. Empowering and engaging, the production comically breaks taboos as it crisscrosses cultures and sexual identity.

Pampered Indian son Pratap (Abhi Sinha) proposes to his beloved Daniel (Derek DeVault), bringing him home to his Old World family, who don’t care as long as there’s a dowry and traditional wife. Hilarious chaos ensues as Daniel breaks rules and taboos, turning marriage and repression on their heads.

DeVault’s breezy charm and flamboyant attitude keep the show sailing right along, along with excellent timing and deadpan reactions. Sinha brings understated strength to the self-absorbed Pratap, a nice counterweight to the frantic goings-on. Abbe Rowlins’ Leela blossoms from a cowed, repressed daughter-in-law to expressive, playful woman, revealing so much in her expressive eyes.

Director Kiff Scholl smartly juggles all the mayhem, keeping things light and playful. Danish Bhandara’s sparkly, energetic choreography provides a bouncy, joie de vivre, complementing the comic “all’s well that ends well” plot.

A joyous celebration of turning tradition upside down in the pursuit of finding love and being yourself, West Bollywood blends the best of India and gay West Hollywood into a hilarious Cinderella spoof.

“West Bollywood” recently played at the Matrix Theatre located at 7657 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles. The production is now closed.

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