5 Important Issues Bend It Like Beckham Tackles
Monday 23rd November 2015 | Faima
A production where the majority of the cast are girls, Bend It Like Beckham has dealt with feministic issues since its 2002 film release, like unconventional dreams (very refreshing from the cliched dreams to break into show business) and going against traditional gender stereotypes. In this particular production, you can hear the girls belt out catchy tunes like ‘Girl Perfect’ and ‘Glorious’, rhythmically challenging the shackles set on female ambition, and they’re catchy as hell!
Gurinder Chadha’s theatre musical gives us a deeper insight into racism in sports which is relevant to society today. We see Jesse’s father remorsefully recount his days as a cricketer in which ‘one mortal sin, the colour of your skin’ (from ‘People Like Us’) thwarts his future plans. An interesting choice by Chadha however to exclude coach Joe’s Irish accent takes away his outsiderness, but the English Jamie Cambell Bower brings out a different ‘boy wonder’ (‘More Fool Us’) charm to the stage.
Like in the film, Tony, Jesse’s best friend comes out as gay which is a bold move for anyone reared in a strictly religious and conventional background. In recent times, Chadha revealed she considered adding romance between the two leading ladies but later scrapped the idea, worrying about a conservative audiences’ reaction. Still, the subtle homosexual reference, ‘I really like Beckham’ is light, humorous and now, a classic.
With a show like this, we expect an amalgamation of Indian culture with British values, but this production really nails a multi-cultural Britain. The opening song ‘UB2’ shows us the busyness and diversity of Southall on a Saturday morning. We see youngsters and old ‘Aunty jees’ as well as people of Muslim, Polish and African descent, just doing their own thing, on one stage. Maybe we could take note in the real world!
In the film, the parents are caricatured in such a way that impinges on humour but in the musical, we see more poignant parental relationships. From the songs ‘There She Goes’ and ‘Tough Love’, we see the misunderstandings, miscommunications and altogether quite difficult relationships we can sometimes share with our parents. But it reminds us that, ultimately, our parents love us no matter what and we could always try harder to explain our dreams, if they don't understand it straight away.
Life lessons can be learned from just one theatre production. Hats off to Chadha for doing it so spectacularly!
Here's a short trailer for the show, so go see it now!