First Look: Night At The Bombay Roxy, run extended at the as-yet-unopened Dishoom Kensington due to overwhelming popular demand

Enter the decadent world of the Bombay Roxy, where the jazz is ‘hot’ and the atmosphere is heady…

Swamp Studios is thrilled to announce that its brand new, site specific production, Night at the Bombay Roxy, will extend its run at the as-yet-unopened Dishoom restaurant in the iconic Barkers Building in Kensington, London, due to overwhelming popular demand. This rich, immersive Indian noir will now play from 27 November until 14 December.

First look images have been released today featuring the lead roles; Vikash Bhai, who will play the role Cyrus, and Sophie Khan Levy who will play Ursula, photographed in the decadent world of the Bombay Roxy, a café and jazz club housed within a former Art Deco cinema, set in Bombay, 1949. 

Bhai and Khan Levy will be joined by Raj Aich as Romesh, Seema Bowri as Farah, Manish Gandhi as Rudy and Harmage Singh Kalirai will play the role of the Inspector.

A swinging five-piece jazz band will complete the ensemble transporting audiences to the opening night of the Bombay Roxy.  Laurence Garrat will feature on double bass alongside Miguel Gorodi on trumpet, Leon Greening on piano, Dave Ingamells on drums and Helena Kay on saxophone and clarinet.  The performance will be matched with a lavish dining experience. Audience members will be greeted with welcome cocktails, and then will feast on a menu of classic Bombay dishes as the performance unfolds.

Night at the Bombay Roxy is set in the intriguing world of 1940s Bombay, where an unexpected and exciting jazz scene was flourishing alongside a uniquely Bombay version of the Art Deco style (the city remains the biggest and best example of Art Deco architecture in the world, after Miami). Whilst Bombay’s architects and designers studied Western Art Deco, they redefined it by creating a distinctive Indian style. Jazz was first introduced to Bombay in the 1930s by touring American artists who opened the city’s ears to new sounds. Local musicians were quick to catch on, and by the 1940s ‘hot jazz’ was everywhere. This was Bombay’s glamorous jazz age, as told in Bombay-based author Naresh Fernandes’ critically acclaimed book, Taj Mahal Foxtrot – the inspiration for this play.

Bombay, 1949

It is a close and heavy monsoon night on Marine Lines.  Despite the weather, there is a jostling of people outside the Bombay Roxy. The club didn’t always have this pull or indeed its current reputation. The man behind the reinvention is the charismatic Cyrus Irani, whose name was once synonymous with Bombay’s racketeers, with murky allegiances, and with police escorts to Arthur Road Jail. But now Cyrus fully intends to put the Bombay underworld behind him. And his new venture, the Bombay Roxy, might just be his redemption.

[Enter CYRUS IRANI.]

Night at the Bombay Roxy has been created by Swamp Studios, an innovative theatre company, led by Ollie Jones and Clem Garritty (from the award-winning theatre collective Kill the Beast). Directed by Eduard Lewis, Associate Director of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (The Old Vic, 2015), the rest of the creative team includes composer Dom James, movement director Sara Green, lighting designerChristopher Nairne and sound designer, David Gregory.

Actors’ bios

Vikash Bhai’s (Cyrus) acting credits include BBC TV dramas Birds of a Feather and DOCTORS and his theatre credits include The House of In Between (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and NAHDA (Bush Theatre).

Sophie Khan Levy (Ursula) studied at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and recent stage credits include FRACKED! OR: PLEASE DON’T USE THE F-WORD.

Raj Aich (Romesh) trained at the Kogan Academy of Dramatic Art (KADA), graduating in 2015.  Recent theatre credits include From Russia with Love and Fright Nights (Camden Fringe, 2016).  In July 2018 he will be producing and performing the lead role in a gothic remake ofBeauty and the Beast at the Omnibus Theatre. Screen credits include a music video Bop N Keep it Dippin by Dizzee Rascal.

Seema Bowri (Farah) is best known for playing the role of PC Leela Kapoor in the ITV drama The Bill for the three years.  Recent theatre credits include My Country (National Theatre and UK Tour, 2017).

Manish Gandhi (Rudy) trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.  His theatre include, Now We Are Here (Young Vic Theatre); Brown Shakespeare (Efua Theodora Sutherland Drama Studio, Legon-Accra); RizwanLimbo (Prithvi Theatre Mumbai); Cock(Prithvi Theatre; National Centre of Performing Arts, Mumbai); Natives (Southwark Playhouse).

Harmage Singh Kalirai (The Inspector) has played a variety of roles on stage and screen. TV credits include Emmerdale (ITV), Big School(BBC Comedy), Politician’s Husband (BBC), Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life (Sky), Silent Witness (BBC), Spooks, (BBC),Taggart (STV), Casualty (BBC), Little Britain (BBC).  Theatre credits include A Thousand Faces (Amina Khayyam Dance Company), The Arabian Nights (Tricycle Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hijra (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Behsharam (Soho Theatre/Birmingham Rep) and Arabian Nights (Young Vic & National Tour).

Lead creative bios

Ollie Jones is an award-winning freelance theatrical creative, working as a writer, actor and producer across various companies. He is a founding member of Swamp Studios and of Kill the Beast, a multi-award winning comedy theatre company who have been touring nationally since 2012, in which he is a writer and performer. Ollie is also a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writer’s Programme. His debut play Daisy Cutter sold out at the Warwick Arts Centre. He has been shortlisted for the International Student Playscript Competition, The King’s Cross Award and the BBC Writer’s Room. He is a Creative Associate at Punchdrunk.

Clem Garritty studied theatre at The University of Warwick and production design at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Alongside Ollie Jones, Clem formed Kill the Beast and has designed and directed all three of their critically-acclaimed, award-winning shows. Clem has since worked behind the scenes in the art department on numerous TV shows, with the BBC, ITV and Talkback Thames. Clem has had scripts shortlisted for the BAFTA Pitch-Up, and in 2015 he co-wrote and directed John Henry Falle’s The Story Beast, which was nominated for the Fosters Comedy Award at The Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to The Soho Theatre in spring 2016. Clem is a Creative Associate with Punchdrunk and has most recently been creating their latest show, Kabeiroi, which opened in London this autumn. 

Eduard Lewis trained at Birkbeck University. He has recently worked as Assistant Director to Max Webster on Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (Old Vic), which was nominated for an Olivier Award and directed a new adaption of Antigone by Pamela Carter for the BRIT Programme (University of South Florida). Past alumni of the programme include Sam Mendes, Edward Hall, Tamara Harvey and Frantic Assembly. Other directing credits include, Light and Shadow, Crap Dad Island and Sky Lines Project at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (where he was Resident Trainee Director) and A Tale of Two Cities (Darlington Civic Theatre), Maggie and Pierre (European Premiere Finborough Theatre), The Terrible Tale of Twiddly Widdlies (Pleasance Edinburgh and New Diorama Theatre), Caught (Pleasance London) and Pick One(Arcola Theatre).

Dishoom, the family of restaurants that pay homage to Bombay and its old Irani cafés, is delighted to host Night at the Bombay Roxy, which will come to life within their as-yet-unopened restaurant in a corner of the Barkers Building on Kensington High Street. The design and architecture of each Dishoom is inspired by early 20th century Bombay, making Dishoom Kensington the perfect backdrop for this immersive Indian noir. (Dishoom Kensington will officially open on 15 December 2017, after hosting Night at the Bombay Roxy.)