Re-review: The perfection that is BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM at the Phoenix Theatre

It's extremely rare that I ever review shows twice (in fact, I actually think that this might well be my first time of ever doing it) but I genuinely love Bend It Like Beckham so much, and had such a wonderful evening once again at the Phoenix Theatre, that I thought it would be silly to not channel that passion into a review for you. This show is incredible and it's deserving of being reviewed twice.

Just so you know, though: this review is going to seem a lot less thorough in comparison to others due to the fact I've reviewed the show in full twice already from when I first saw it last August. One of these reviews was on this very blog (the more thorough review of the two, link - here), and the other was a five-point video review that I made on LondonTheatreDirect's YouTube channel (link - here).

The main topic I want to touch on today are the cast of the show with how they create the characters with such expertise, and how they manage to put so much energy and joy into this extremely demanding show. Apart from a couple of minor casting changes, the only notable difference in comparison to the cast I saw originally was Dogfight alum Jamie Muscato playing the football coach Joe since Jamie Campbell-Bower left the production last month and if anything, Muscato has made the cast an even stronger and more integral unit. 

Natalie Dew continued to blow me away this evening in ways that I really did not believe were possibly from such an ingenue. I truly think that she is one of the most charming and wonderful actors to watch on stage and you can tell so clearly that she is having the time of her life up there with the joy that radiates from her - and that's just on a Monday night! I really do hope that the Olivier's give her a nod for her amazing dedication to this show because it really is noteworthy (I'm still pretty pissed off that WhatsOnStage voters didn't recognise her in their awards)

Priya Kalidas also is such an incredible talent and it's a joy whenever she opens her mouth to crack a joke (jokes that genuinely make me lol by the way - a rarity!), or when she opens her mouth to sing so beautifully. Her addition to the cast is not only a fantastic choice from a comedic standpoint - because everything she says is genuinely hilarious - but is also a great decision from a vocal perspective, for she truly has a gorgeous, gorgeous voice. Jamie Muscato is similar in this way: there's something about him that works so well with this show and his performance was so much more enjoyable thank Campbell-Bower's in my opinion. He has a stunning music theatre voice and his natural, boy next door charm is so touching to see. It reminds me that I'm watching proper young people here and not just a bunch of actors playing them.

Other favourites of mine continue to be the amazing Tony Jayawardena, Natasha Jayetileke, Sophie-Louise Dann (whose song in the second act 'There She Goes' is probably the best moment in the entire show IMO), Jamal Andreas and Lauren Samuels, who I didn't get to see last time I saw the show but thought she was sublime this time. It's so wonderful to see a cast in the West End that tells the story of accepting others and coming together as one big family, who have very clearly taken that message on board as a body of people. 

Bend It Like Beckham is a show filled with incredible character, charisma and life both on stage and off, and that is most certainly a quirk that makes this show resonate so much with me.

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