Full cast announced for Laila - The Musical

Full cast announced for Laila - The Musical

11 February 2016

Rifco Artistic Director Pravesh Kumar today announces the full cast for the world première of Laila: The Musical

Kumar directs Reece BahiaRavin J Ganatra, Mona Goodwin, Kush Khanna, Sami LamineSheena PatelVedi Roy, Shin and Yinka Williams in the production which opens at Watford Palace Theatre on 7 April.  Laila then tours to The New Wolsey Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Warwick Arts Centre, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Theatre Royal Windsor and The Lowry. 

From the creators of acclaimed award-winning musical Britain’s Got Bhangra comes a new contemporary musical - Laila. Director and Writer Pravesh Kumar (The Deranged Marriage, There’s Something About Simmy), Music Composer Sumeet Chopra (Break The Floorboards) and Lyricist Dougal Irvine (Departure Lounge, In Touch) have come together for a retelling of the greatest eastern love story – Laila Majnu.

Originating in 7th century Persia, the bittersweet story of star-crossed lovers has been passed down through verse and song over centuries. It was popularized by 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi with his version Layla u Majnun and British poet Lord Byron described the story as the “Romeo and Juliet of the east”. Predating Shakespeare’s play by 700 years, it is said to have inspired the bard’s tragic love story.

The story of young love and feuding families is being given a contemporary musical twist by the Laila creative team.

Reece Bahia plays Qays. His theatre credits include Buddy Holly’s Rock and Roll Show (Belgrade Theatre) and Got to be Michael and Sandra Godley’s Sounds of the 60s, 70s & 80s (Cambridge Corn Exchange). Reece won Coventry’s Young Entertainer of the Year prize in 2013.

Ravin J Ganatra plays Abba. He has worked with Rifco previously on The Deranged Marriage. His other theatre credits include Coming Up (Watford Palace Theatre), Passage to India, Journey to the West, Revelations, Exodus and Nagwanti (Tara Arts/UK tours), The Mahabharata (UK tour), Natural World (Kali Theatre Co) and Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Library Theatre). His television credits include In the Club 2, Handle with Prayer, Britz, The Fugitives, Tom & Thomas, Dalziel & Pascoe, Entrapment, The Rammayana and Travesties.

Mona Goodwin plays Laila. Her theatre credits include The Snow Queen (Royal and Derngate), Generation of Z (Royale Productions), Finding Noor (Citizens Glasgow), Suffering in Sirens (Greenwich Theatre), Julius Caesar, The Conspirators and The Tempest (Orange Tree Theatre), DNA (Courtyard Theatre), Far from the Madding Crowd and Where Have I Been All My Life (New Vic Theatre), Wind in the Willows (Chesterfield Rep), Cling to me like Ivy (Birmingham Rep), Spring Awakening (Novello Theatre), Viable Alternatives and V for Vendetta (Theatre 503). Her work for television includes Capital, Marvellous, Topsy and Tim and Black Mirror; and for film, Marvellous, Brighton Rock, Infliction and Freefall.

Kush Khanna plays Atif. This production marks his professional stage debut.

Sami Lamine plays Tabrez. He previously worked with Rifco on MummyJi Presents and British Asian Festival. Further theatre credits include Qudz (The Yard Theatre), Broadway to West End and Fours Company at the Movies.

Sheena Patel plays Zeenat. She has previously worked with Rifco on The Deranged Marriage, Break the Floorboards and Britain’s Got Bhangra. Further theatre credits include Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadlers Wells), Romonic (Soho Theatre), Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Finborough Theatre), Wuthering Heights (Lyric Hammersmith) and Robin HoodI and Sleeping Beauty (Watford Palace Theatre).  Her television credits include Law and Order UK.  

Vedi Roy is in the ensemble. His theatre and film work includes A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Soldier (Mermaid Theatre/Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Syn-Da-Rilla (Dugdale Centre), Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Sennheiser Studio Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Remix (Leicester Square Theatre/Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and The Rogue Table (I'm With Geek Ltd).

Shin plays the Father. He is primarily known as a singer and performer and he has performed extensively over the years with his band DCS. He previously worked with Rifco on Britain’s Got Bhangra where he played the lead role of ‘Twinkle’ in the 2010 and 2011’s productions.

Yinka Williams is in the ensemble. Her theatre credits include Bombay Dreams, Screaming Without Words, Who Am I?, Red Hot And Cole (Landor Theatre) and Religion of Love (Rich Mix). Her work for television includes Planet Ajay and Tonight’s the Night; and for film, London Road.

Rifco, Watford Palace Theatre and Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch present Laila - The Musical.


Written and Directed by: Pravesh Kumar

Composer: Sumeet Chopra

Lyricist: Dougal Irvine

Designer: Libby Watson

Costume Designer: Andy Kumar

Lighting Designer: Philip Gladwell

Sound Designer: Ben Harrison

Movement Director: Cressida Carré

Musical Director, Orchestration and Arrangements: Benjamin Holder

Casting Director: Debbie O’Brien

Puppets Designed and Made by: Matthew Robins

For further information and tour dates rifcoarts.com/shows/laila--the-musical