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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 22:37 GMT 23:37 UK
Ovation for 'brilliant' Bombay Dreams
Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber
Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber: Hoping for another hit
Stage producer Andrew Lloyd Webber has received a standing ovation from the first night audience of his eagerly-awaited new musical Bombay Dreams.

Lord Lloyd-Webber was enthusuastically congratulated when he took to the stage of the London Victoria Apollo after the show on Wednesay night.

He was joined by the comedienne Meera Syal, who wrote the musical's script, and composer AR Rahman.

Rahman is the creative talent behind more than 50 Bollywood soundtracks.

Denise Van Outen
Van Outen was impressed

Bombay Dreams is a love story set against the backdrop of Bombay's world famous film industry.

Many celebrities were among those who attended the packed première, including actress and TV star Denise Van Outen, actor Sir Michael Caine and actress Claire Sweeney.

After the show, Van Outen said she had found it "absolutely brilliant". Sweeney said she thought it was going to be a success.

"I thought it was fantastic, an original show that I think will do really well," Sweeney said. "It is very brave to put something like this on in the West End but there's room for everything."

Critics, on the whole, have also been complimentary about the production.

"Great fun, great costumes and a refreshing change from every other West End show," said Daily Express writer Robert Gore-Langton.

Bombay Dreams has been three years in the making and has a reported budget of £4.5m.

And Lord Lloyd-Webber will be hoping that the show, like many of his previous projects such as the recently closed Starlight Express, will be a long-running hit.

It comes at time when the fashion for Indian-themed entertainment, especially in the UK, is at an all-time high.


However, tickets for the show have not sold as fast as some had expected.

With seats still available for performances as early as next week, Lord Lloyd-Webber has admitted sales are not matching those of other big-budget productions.

Sir Michael Caine and his wife Shakira
Sir Michael Caine came along with his wife Shakira

But he insists tickets for weekend shows are selling well and expects interest to grow once the word spreads.

He said: "We don't have the huge advance bookings of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the Queen musical.

"It's about the same as when Cats began and no-one had any idea what it was all about."

The comparison bodes well as Cats, which closed in London last month, holds the record for the longest-running musical ever staged in either the West End or New York's Broadway.

British audience

In putting together Bombay Dreams Lord Lloyd-Webber has assembled a heavyweight team, whose members have previously enjoyed great success in their own right.

Shekhar Kapur, director of the Oscar-nominated film Elizabeth, helped him devise the production.

The stars of the show will also be familiar to many members of a British audience.

The heroine, Priya, is played by actress Preeya Kalidas, who has previously appeared in hit films Bend It Like Beckham and East Is East.

The cast also includes This Life star Ramon Tikaram.

The BBC's David Sillito
"A new musical for the West End"
See also:

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