“Anyone Can Cook Aloo Gobi, But Who Can…”

You should know the end of this sentence. No? I’ll give you a few clues as to who it relates to… he has a nickname of ‘Golden Balls’, used to play for Manchester United and he’s married to Posh Spice herself. Got it yet?

“… Bend a ball like Beckham?”.

Right! David Beckham.

Making his first-team debut in 1992 at the age of 17, David was the man of the hour until eventually leaving in 2007 where he was signed by LA Galaxy. He was every United fan’s star player, idolised by many – boys, girls and adults of all ethnicities and race. David’s football talent, particularly his ability of curling the ball past a wall of defenders and scoring, made such an impact on the world that it inspired Gurinder Chadha to make a film about it which came to our screens in 2002. I am, of course, talking about “Bend It Like Beckham”.

Anyone that has seen the film will know how fantastically funny it is. A story about a young Punjabi girl called Jesminder (or Jess, as she prefers) with a passion for football and who absolutely worships David Beckham – much to the disappointment of her extremely religious parents who have forbidden Jess to play at all. Not taking no for an answer, Jess tries out for her local football team, the Hounslow Harriers and after impressing their coach, manages to secure herself as a striker on their team! The downside is having to keep this news top secret from her tight-knit family. Will Jess achieve her dream of becoming a professional footballer? Watch it to find out!

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Last year, Bend It Like Beckham was adapted for London’s West End as a musical. Achieving fabulous reviews and winning “Best Musical” at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, as well as “Best Musical” in London’s Time Out! Evidently, it has been warmly welcomed and extremely well received. Unfortunately, if you haven’t made your way down to the Phoenix Theatre to see it yet, you’re seriously running out of time as it closes on the 5th March – tomorrow is their last show, sad times!

It’s no secret that I’m a massive theatre lover and try to go as often as I can – I still brag about having seen Billy Elliot three times and Wicked twice! Being a lover of the film meant that I would absolutely have to see this adaptation before it’s end date and that I did! Last week in fact. After a delicious meal at On The Bab (more on that later) we made our rather rushed journey to the Phoenix Theatre. Obviously it’s rule number one in the theatre that no photography of any kind is allowed – despite a few people trying (and failing), if it were allowed though I’d have tonnes of photos and videos to share with you, it was hysterical. The comedic timing delivered by the actors was second to none. The songs were catchy. The set was vibrant and the atmosphere was electric. Everything you would expect from an adaptation of a film like this that has such personality to it. Whilst most of the cast are relatively unknown, I was very much looking forward to seeing Preeya Kalidas in the role of Jess’ chavvy sister Pinky. Preeya (you might know her as Amira from Eastenders; she married Sayed before finding out he’s actually in love with Christian!) keeps the jokes coming and exudes confidence with great stage presence. Delivering some quite impressive vocals and dance routines, a scene with Pinky in it was never disappointing.

One of the questions I was asking myself before seeing this musical was ‘how are they going to do the football scenes?’ Lets’ be fair to them, it’s pretty hard to play football on a West End stage in a safe way – the last thing anyone wants after all is for the ball to find itself smacking into an unsuspecting audience member’s face! Thanks to clever lighting, sound effects and a well-placed wire from the stage crew and on-beat movements from the cast, it worked like a dream.

I thoroughly enjoyed this musical; it’s a massive shame to be closing but as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end”. Let’s hope one day in the future we see a return!

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I briefly mentioned where my friend and I went for dinner before the show. A cute, Korean street food restaurant in Covent Garden called On The Bab. It is casual dining that is very popular and becomes extremely busy in the evenings. Get here on time or expect a rather long wait!

My favourite dish here is a dish aptly named ‘On The Rice’ which simply is your choice off bulgogi beef, spicy pork or spicy chicken on a bed of rice with a salad-like garnish on the top – YUM! I went for the chicken option, it’s my favourite.

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My friend went for something different and it looked epic! She chose the ‘On The Buns’ which is quite similar to what I had, except without the rice and she chose the spicy pork option.

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We had ‘Yangyum Chicken’ to share in the sweet chilli flavour…

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If you haven’t been before, GO! As I said, it gets extremely busy with the queue often leading outside the restaurant. They don’t take reservations and don’t expect to save a table whilst you’re waiting for your friends to arrive – that’s a no-no here. You’ll be asked to wait but they will remember you when the next table becomes available.

xo

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