facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre
Kismet Ball_Michael 01

Michael Ball in Kismet

Kismet

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 21 April 2008

The grand auditorium of the London Coliseum is the frame within which the rich red set for this new staging of Kismet is assembled. The entrance to a mosque, doorways in a bazaar, the city walls and a secret garden are all conjured in bold colour, with the characters moving about it like multicoloured splashes of paint on a one-colour canvas. Caroline Bishop took a trip to old Baghdad…

A cast and orchestra of over a hundred are employed in this new production of classic Broadway musical Kismet, which hasn’t been staged in London since 1978. A musing on fate and luck, a love story, with a pinch of good versus evil, Kismet is a quaintly traditional musical which seems fitting for the Coliseum stage.

It follows the story of a Poet, who scrounges a living selling rhymes on the streets of Baghdad nearly a millennium ago. When he is accidentally mistaken for the old beggar Hajj, it sets in motion a chain of events that brings him wealth and status. Michael Ball plays the Poet as a cheeky, resourceful and charismatic scoundrel, who makes the most of his good luck and doesn’t worry about the potentially life-threatening consequences. His way with words – and equally his way with the ladies – gets him out of a tricky spot or two along his fated path.

Claiming himself to be a man with magical powers, the Poet is welcomed into the court of the evil Wazir (Graeme Danby), where he seduces his easily-seduceable wife, the buxom and opulent Lalume (Broadway actress Faith Prince). Meanwhile, the Poet’s daughter Marsinah has fallen in love with a man she thinks is a gardener, but is actually the ruling Caliph.

While the romance between Marsinah and the Caliph (beautifully sung by Sarah Tynan and Alfie Boe) is all hearts and flowers, framed by the floral wreath that depicts the garden where they first meet, the Poet and Lalume dispense with the formalities for a fumble in the Wazir’s harem and it is this coupling that provides the laughs of the evening. Grinning ear to ear, Ball’s Poet seems in his element with all the female attention, while Prince is a lady who knows what she wants – and it is not her husband.

Danby is a suitably self-inflated Wazir, while support is given by the somewhat incongruous three Princesses of Ababu, who display the influence of (departed) choreographer Javier De Frutos – with black leather leotards, tightly scraped-back hair, and a suggestive courting ritual, they wouldn’t be out of place in Cabaret.

After many misunderstandings and much evil plotting, the Wazir is thwarted, evil is banished and love prevails, as befits the traditional nature of this tale. How different it all is in modern Baghdad.

Kismet plays until 14 July.

CB

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.