Can we all agree that the 2002 movie with Keira Knightley is one of the best things to come out of the naughties besides Britney Spears? Even 15 years later I very much enjoy watching it. So how bad could a musical version really be? I honestly did not know what to expect. Let me tell you – Bend It Like Beckham is one the funniest, brightest, most colourful musical I have seen so far. It’s really a shame it’s closing it’s doors soon.
Bend It Like Beckham is the story of Jasminda, an Indian teenager, who loves playing football and tends to do so in the park with her male friends. One day Jules, a white British girl who plays for a professional girls’ team in the area, watches her play footie and suggests she come join them at the club. Jas’ sister is about to get married and so the family get ready to meet the groom’s parents and want to impress them. To make it short, the parents as well as the groom’s parents are not impressed with Jasminda’s new hobby and things go from bad to worse for her as she wants to keep playing but tries to hide it from her parents.
Very little was alternated from the original story in the movie, some bits were cut but overall the characters and storylines are mainly the same. Personally, the most loveable character for me is Jules’ mom – in the musical she’s a single mother who just does not understand her daughter’s obsession with football but underneath it all she just wants her daughter to be happy.
Most of all, just like Jonathan Rhys Myers in the movie, we are smitten with former Harry Potter star Jamie Campbell Bower as coach Joe. As caring and lovable as in the movie, but slightly less douche-baggy (sorry Jonathan!).
Bend It Like Beckham is one of those musicals for the whole family to enjoy – there are so many different characters to connect with, and so many story lines to relate to as well. I can’t deny that I’m a massive fan of Indian culture – the colors, the music and the sheer joy their celebrations send out cannot be matched by anything we Europeans do. I have nothing but absolute adoration for this musical.
So while enjoying this musical and thinking back on the movie I realize how very little has changed for girls in football. Although the FA does a lot more work to push womens’ football to get more exposure, a country that is deeply rooted in this sport has a very hard time accepting females into its ranks on any front whether it be the girls on the field, the women in stadium seats or the ladies in the pub – women in football are generally seen as one of two things: only after meeting men or lesbians. Can we get that stigma changed please? I would like to think if my daughter ever wanted to play football she shouldn’t have to deal with absurd comments for playing a sport this entire nation is obsessed with.