Alex Proud’s cabaret space is a must-see experience for any first-time cabaret goer. Attention to detail is paramount from gliding over the red carpet to descending the stairs with famous Bollywood posters framed down the stairwell. The atmosphere within the cosy basement by Fenchurch Street station is of excitement and release, the soundtrack and visual efforts are enough to get you dancing before the entertainment truly sets the ball rolling. 

Choreographed by the Pujari brothers Mahesh, Tejesh and Sushant, and written/directed by Toby Gough, the story follows a famous chef in Mumbai who, by a fortunate stroke of luck (or higher powers that be), became the resident chef in Hollywood, cooking for all the movie sets and studios. 

Through the medium of dance and a slither of narrative, we journey through the Bollywood favourites, a complete mixed bag of fruits, to find the love story that brought fame and success. Our young couple are danced by Arif Zakaria and Carol Furtado, both esteemed Indian dancers and performers. Zakaria’s beads of sweat and fierce muscles are a visual treat in the musky intimacy of Proud City. Likewise, Furtado’s loose hips and elastic spine are a magnet distracting from the culinary masterpiece. 

Nisha Parmar’s taster menu is flawless. The 7-course menu is a beautiful accumulation of tastes that not only looks and tastes at the top of its game, but it even accommodates to special dietary requirements. From finessed Simosas to spicy dishes I don’t have the food critiquing skills to begin to describe, the culinary performance is a perfect cherry on the cake of a great evening’s entertainment. Parmar’s creations reflect the contents of the narrative effortlessly. The timing of a chilli dish accompanying a dance exploring the origins of the chill is certainly a highlight of the marriage between sight and sound. 

The ensemble of unaccredited dancers give an immersive lift to the piece with as much spice and punch as the kitchen provides. It’s hard to imagine such a high-octane performance whilst indulging in amazing tastes that feel like they will never stop coming. The stamina of the cast is incredibly possessive, taking us the extra mile by encouraging a flash mob to conclude the night, having everyone capable on their feet and joining in the dancing, leaving even the most bitter audience member zesty! 

Mumbai Masala is a culinary and choreographic phenomenon not to be missed by any Londoner with a need for excitement.

You can find tickets: here.


Review: Sebastian Calver