'Bend It Like Beckham' play opens to great reviews in UK

  • PTI, None, London
  • Updated: Jul 03, 2015 18:30 IST

The stage version of British-Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha's 2002 box-office hit "Bend It Like Beckham" has been playing to great reviews at London's West End.

The story of a London-based Sikh immigrant's daughter, Jesminder, who fights cultural stereotypes to become a football player like her icon David Beckham had made over USD 70 million at the UK box-office, besides its worldwide popularity as one of the most successful British films of all time.

"At its core 'Bend It like Beckham' is a story about finding your place in the world whilst remaining true to yourself and those you love.

"I think that is something that crosses any and all cultural and racial lines. It's not just about football, but everything in life," said Chadha, who has directed the stage version as well.

The musical's opening coincided with the England women's football team's mixed success in the Women's World Cup in Canada.

The winning streak for England may have ended with an unfortunate own goal by Laura Bessett in the semi-final against Japan this week but they have a special invite waiting when they return to the UK.

"It's fantastic timing for us that it's the Women's World Cup. As soon as they get back to Heathrow that's the first thing we're going to do - invite them all, and maybe they'll take a bow themselves," said Chadha.

Adapted by her and co-writer husband Paul Mayeda Berges, the musical sees actor Natalie Dew take on the role of Jess, played by Parminder Nagra in the film. The role of her best friend and fellow footballer, Jules, which brought British actress Keira Knightley great cinematic fame, has been taken on by Lauren Samuels.

"Bend It Like Beckham: The Musical" has a scheduled run at the Pheonix Theatre in London's theatre district until October with a tour around the UK, and even the world, likely based on its popularity in the West End.

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