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Hottomala The Wonderland

The performance debuted at The Bloomsbury Theatre in June 2008 to a wonderfully diverse audience, in which the subtitled production transgressed language barriers, opening the production to everyone to enjoy.  It is a vibrant and exciting theatre production, manipulating the influences of Bollywood and jatra (a famous form of traditional folk theatre from the eastern region of India) with the grandeur of carnival. The resulting style is visually enjoyable and understood universally. Hottomala marries dance, theatre, and music in unexpected ways. It explores what theatre could be: it stirs emotion, is passionate, mischievous, and makes you smile! Hottomala is soon going to be going on tour in the UK.

Hottomala takes the audience on a curious and surreal journey where two cheeky thieves fleeing incarceration find themselves thrust into a utopian idealistic world, a realm in which life is fulfilled by simplicity and happiness is achieved through a sense of sharing on every level.  Here, their adventures explore the fundamental questions of life, challenging the nature and ideals of a capitalist society in which consumerism acts as a shroud for the basic principles of happiness.

The play challenges the notion of the ideal life and presents its protagonists as unfulfilled and uncomfortable within this environment of perfection for they are unable to resist the modern day vices that they carry and are essentially invalid in this utopian world.

Hottomala the Wonderland was created in 2008 by London based writer and director Korak Ghosh originally from Kolkata.  The production is an innovative adaption of Hottomala O’Pare by award winning Bengali playwright Badak Sarkar (1925-) who rose to prominence in the 1970’s and was one of the leading figures in the revival of street theatre in Bengal.

“This production not only has all the trimmings and sentiments for a fully fledged Bollywood style musical-drama, but it has deep political undertones that keep the audience swaying between the good and the two cheeky fun loving thieves, who slowly come to grips with a Utopian existence. In particular, the theatrical transformations between the glitzy dream scenes with Enfield motorbikes was a fabulous contrast to more realistic scenes or the police chases through dark woods. Hottomala the Wonderland is a fun, humorous and accessible production, thoroughly appreciated by Bengali speakers and with the benefit of English translation for all to enjoy.” Beth Cinnamon, London (Director, Westminster Arts)

 “Although I am familiar with Indian film this was my first experience of Bengali theatre and I was pleasantly surprised. I was aware that not all the cast were professional actors, however this didn’t show in their performance. The colour and vibrancy of this production really made it an experience to remember and I would be very excited to see more productions of Bengali origin.”Luke Meader, Guernsey. C.I

“A colourful, vibrant and energetic performance for the whole family; no matter which cultural background you derive from. Uplifting, standout comical performances with a universal message that could not be more poignant in today’s clouded society.” Damien Pettit, London (Actor/fight director)

“A true comedy theatre production; although spoken in Bengali with subtitles the comedic timings of the actors conveyed the humour brilliantly. Kept us entertained from start to finish”. “From a Westerners view point and our first taste of Bengali theatre, a refreshing change to see a show relying purely on acting ability to convey a message rather than special effects. Raw talent brought a wonderfully amusing story to life with wit and humour. Would certainly recommend to family and friends” Becky & Mark Jempson, Oxfordshire

“A vibrant show with great laughs, great music and fantastic costumes. Fine leading actors with gracefully leading ladies work together to bring a bit of romance to this moral tale.” Funmi, London (Actor)

“I found Hottomala a hugely enjoyable experience – the play was a wonderful mixture of great acting, musical numbers, dance routines and special effects, full of colour and acted and staged with energy, creativity and enthusiasm as well as being simple but very enjoyable tale as well – congratulations to the whole cast and crew of Hottomala – a thoroughly enjoyable night out and great fun!” Ali Palmer London (Actor)

“I have seen Hottomala’s video footage on Channel S and ATN as well. As a theatre worker I can say, this is absolutely a successful production. Its choreography and aestheticism are really unforgettable” S. Ahmed Sroat, London, (News Presenter, Channel S TV)

“For me, it was a great experience to watch the play because as a Romanian I was wondering if I’d be able to understand! I was surprise the acting, the body language, mime and story made me feel that our cultures have something in common. I felt part of it . The two main actors were outstanding and kept the audience ‘under control‘!” Ilyana Gruia, London (Teacher, Kelmscott School)

“Visually very strong and acting was also great.” Ali Pretty London (Artistic Director, Kinetika)

“It is very big thing in London to have this show in a mainstream place like Bloomsbury theatre. I am very fond of Korak Ghosh’s writing and direction; he is consistently putting up something wonderful and unique. In addition, in the process; bringing together a whole group of young people, which I think, is very good.” Sangeeta Dutta London (Writer / Director)
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