Bombay Dreams leading lady Preeya Kalidas swaps Bollywood music for Elizabethan bawdiness tonight (12 September 2003) when she opens in Thomas Heywood's 17th-century classic The Fair Maid of the West (or A Girl Worth Gold) at London's Pleasance Theatre (previews from 10 September, continuing to 5 October).

Originally written, 20 years apart, as two separate plays (circa 1610 and 1630), The Fair Maid of the West charts the adventures of Bess Bridges whose virtue and spirit win her love and respect from those she encounters as she travels from Cornwall to the Caribbean and from barmaid to buccaneer. All in pursuit of rescuing her true love. John Waters' modern adaptation condenses the two into one play.

Kalidas (pictured), who plays Bess, originated the role of Priya in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced hit West End musical Bombay Dreams, for which she was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical. On film, she's appeared in Bend It Like Beckham and takes the title role in the Romeo and Juliet-inspired Bollywood Queen, which is released next month.

In The Fair Maid of the West, Kalidas is joined by Jamie Beamish, Craig S Cremin, Diannah Dayly, Daniel Hope, Pascal Langdale, Richard Stacey and Tim Stanmore.

The Comyns Carr Theatre production is directed by Andrew Goldberg whose last show, The Bomb-itty of Errors, a rap re-invention of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors was a hit Off-Broadway and at the 2002 Edinburgh festival 2002 before transferring earlier this year to the West End's New Ambassadors Theatre.

- by Terri Paddock