My Hindi is not exactly up to scratch. And by that I mean, it is in very nearly non-existent. But I do know one word, and that one word was learnt while sitting in Younger Hall last Saturday night, flipping through a programme and waiting not so patiently for a show to begin. That one word means “bright star” – Sitara.
To find a better name for such a performance is, in my humble opinion, nigh on impossible. From the outset it was clear that this was to be, as claimed in their advertising campaign, “a show like no other”. VIP tables were laden with fresh flowers, hot oriental snacks and goodie bags, while Chinese lanterns dangled from the balcony, transforming the hall into a modern day Aladdin’s cave. After opening with a live performance of a traditional Indian song mashed-up with Rolling In The Deep, the statue-still models burst into life. But this was not modelling as I had ever seen it before. These models were not strutting down the catwalk with vacant expressions and robotic precision – instead they were dancing, laughing and actually looking like they were enjoying being up there. There was an air of flirtation as the models seduced each other, keeping the audience wondering how much was a product of choreography, and how many of the winks and raised eyebrows were a product of chemistry.
With regards to the actual fashion, the flavour was sometimes mind-blowingly spicy, sometimes mild and fragrant but very often distinctly Asian. Some of the most beautiful outfits were full saris, worn by models of all ethnicities and looking sublime on every single one of them. Other highlights included kimono style sleeves, intricate embroidery and cherry blossom florals, all of which can easily be incorporated into an everyday spring wardrobe. Our expectations were turned upside down when the male models appeared in kilts, some topless and some wearing carefully positioned scarves. Of course, we should have known; this was an Asian Fusion show, and of course in St Andrews part of the Fusion just had to be Scottish.
It would of course be fallacy to discuss Sitara purely on the basis of fashion. Interwoven around the modelling was the story of Aladdin. We were treated to a breakdancing genie, samurai swords, a bellydancer, mime, martial arts and a drunken butler. That’s without even mentioning the enchanting central cast, featuring an Aladdin with the perfect smile, a beautiful princess and an evil villain whose dastardly ways were both captivating and wicked. Of course, the fairytale ending was done in true St Andrews style – champagne and dancing no less.
And so I left Younger Hall with many things. A sense of admiration for the hardworking team who directed a show which was so entertaining in so many ways. A feeling of awe for the talent displayed by the performers, no matter whether they were dancers, actors or models. Anticipation to see how the show grows and develops over the coming years. And of course, my very first word in Hindi.