There probably isn't a person on the planet who hasn't made one of those
"please God, make this happen and I'll..." promises.
Chumpa is no exception. Twenty eight years old, a wannabe journalist working as a
secretary for Concrete Weekly and with an arranged marriage looming to a
long-standing, two-timing boyfriend she doesn't love, she is looking for new
direction in her love life and her career. Sound familiar? This piece hasn't been hailed the Asian
Bridget Jones for nothing.
When her mother collapses at a family wedding, a desperate Chumpa promises
she will get married if only God will make her mother better. Mother recovers, leaving Chumpa just 28 days to find a bridegroom!
Dolly Dhingra's play has multiple shades of not only Bridget Jones' Diary, but also a
touch of East Is East and a blast of Bollywood dancing, all thrown
into the comedic melting pot.
And Leicester Haymarket Theatre, where this co-production with Pilot Theatre Company launches its UK-wide tour, has taken the gamble of mounting this Asian
comedy in the main house. It pays off under the direction of Kully Thiarai.
From a fairly basic story comes lots of laughs, with some great one-liners -
"There's no sex in Indian movies. They'd have us believe that Indian women
get pregnant by dipping their toes in the Ganges" - mixed in with flashes of first-rate
All of which is delivered with aplomb by a multi-role company of six.
Manjinder Virk plays Chumpa, who goes on to meet a host of unsuitable
suitors through dating agencies, newspaper columns and blind dates, until
Bollywood star Vinod (Alex Caan) struts into her life.
Before you can say Hamlet, Vinod is courting the starstruck bride-to-be, but are
his intentions honourable or does he simply need a British passport to do
Shakespeare at the National? And will Chumpa ever see video store worker Mem (Ravi Aujla) as more than
Yes, the plot is at times transparent, but there are a couple of
amusing surprises along the way, and it's great to see such Asian work crossing over into the mainstream. Because comedy is comedy, true love is true love and a good night out is a
good night out - whether you're a Chumpa or a Bridget.