Britain’s Got Bhangra is a new musical by Pravesh Kumar, celebrating the presence and influence of bhangra in the UK over the last 30 years. For those unaware, bhangra is a genre of music derived from Punjabi dance, that has been fused with hip hop and r’n’b in recent years, and in so doing achieved a huge amount of commercial success.

This production is absolutely bursting with life, energy and vibrancy, like the most spectacular of Bollywood films. But it takes a strange turn in choosing to work with a narrative that will be all too recognisable to most of the audience. It’s the story of Twinkle (Surinder Singh Parwana) a young man from India who moves to England, toils in a dead-end job for a while before chancing upon a singing job and becoming a bhangra star. Along the way he discovers the pitfalls of fame, struggles to maintain his relationship with his wife (Natasha Lewis) and doesn’t make all the wisest life choices. All of this sound pretty familiar? It comes across that way, too, although we can ignore the reality show title, this is fortunately only a footnote in the story.

The creators have clearly decided that the use of bhangra songs is enough to hold the plot together and also set this production apart from others, and so they don’t work too hard on coming up with an interesting narrative arch. They get away with this for two reasons. First, the score is such lively fun it glosses over the creaky plot, and second, because of the performances of leading man Parwana, Arun Blair-Mangat, who’s absolutely superb as the rising star Jason and Sophiya Haque, who’s a fine villain.

Although the score is entertaining, it can’t always hide a tired script, which does a patchy job at linking the songs together. In attempting to cover the last 30 years, it makes shallow attempts to address events like the Brick Lane riots and the rise of Thatcherism without discussing their effects on either the Asian community in general or the characters in the play in particular. The humour is also a bit stale: there are some laughs, but, at times, some intended jokes end up reducing the show to Carry On Chennai. Britain’s Got Bhangra is not without its flaws, but is held together by a couple of fine performances and a warm- hearted story. An enjoyable watch.

The Oxford Playhouse until Saturday. Tel: 01865 305305 (