siddhartha-the-musical_2014SIDDHAR_8VAssembly Rooms, Edinburgh
54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR
Aug 10-12, 14-24

I read the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse many years ago. It’s about the life journey of Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilvastu, Nepal. Siddhartha renounces his position and fortune and seeks spiritual enlightenment. It isn’t a straight path and one woman in particular knocks him off course – the Courtesan Kamala. She even persuades Siddhartha to go into business with the merchant Kamaswami!

You can’t blame him. The girls are hot and the money is flowing. When he goes off for enlightenment I had to suppress my cockney inner voice: “some people are never happy”!

An unlikely subject for a musical you might think. A musical that started as a rehabilitation programme in a maximum security prison in Milan! But it works. Even the fact that it is in Italian doesn’t stop the fun. Surtitles are provided for those who don’t know the language.

The dances, story and songs are great. I particularly liked the fight scenes which are incredibly graceful and, by way of contrast, the comical Kawaswami. It’s a sexy production with pounding beats and by the end the audience were clapping along in rhythm.

Combine this with the way the show gets you to reflect on the message of the Buddha (which I will not even attempt to summarise) and you’ve got enlightened entertainment!

Reviewed by Pat Harrington


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