Cast announced for Mushy: Lyrically Speaking
The cast for Mushy: Lyrically Speaking has been annonuced.
Varun Raj has been announced as the title role of Mushy in Mushy: Lyrically Speaking, a new rap infused play by Rifco Theatre Company touring in Autumn 2019. Varun plays the teenager who captured the hearts of the nation and rose to fame on Channel 4 documentary, Educating Yorkshire, when he overcame his severe stutter with the help of his teacher, Mr Burton.
Varun Raj is a graduate of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and the University of Winchester. He previously performed in the critically acclaimed, sell-out Dubailand at the Finborough Theatre, and has also appeared in the films Baar Baar Dekho and Gold.
Performing the part of his intuitive and passionate teacher, Matthew Burton, who embodied the life-changing impact of good teachers, is Oliver Longstaff. He has starred several times at Watford Palace Theatre, in The Glass Menagerie, Absurd Person Singular and Sleeping Beauty.
Mushy’s ammi (mum) will be played by Medhavi Patel, who was nominated for the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture & Theatre Award for her performance in the UK tour of We Are The Lions Mr Manager with Townsend Productions. Other stage credits include Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree, Tara Arts and Polka Theatre’s first collaboration, which was also nominated for Best Theatre Production of 2019 by the Eastern Eye's Arts Culture & Theatre Awards. On screen she has starred in Doctors (BBC), Holby City (BBC), Dogma 3: Only Girls (Channel 4) and Dogma 3: Snowman (Channel 4). She also appeared in the 2006 film Kidulthood.
Musharaf Asghar, also known as ‘Mushy’, was the star of Channel 4’s reality TV series, Educating Yorkshire. In amongst the chaotic comprehensive he was a 16-year-old impeded by an acute stammer which threatened to mute him. But thanks to his enthusiastic teacher, Matthew Burton, Mushy was at last given a voice. Mushy: Lyrically Speaking recounts the story known and loved by the public of a young man overcoming the odds, then asks what happened next as the teen was hit by the highs and lows of overnight fame. With music playing a crucial role in helping Mushy to find his voice, the show will use rap and lyrical narration written by rapper Raxstar, and the book has been written by Rifco Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Pravesh Kumar. Mushy: Lyrically Speaking is a Rifco Studio production presented by Rifco Theatre Company and Watford Palace Theatre.
Musharaf Asghar said, “I’m really excited that Rifco Theatre Company is telling my story, everybody remembers the headphones moment but nobody really knows what happened afterwards. That one moment has changed my life and I hope that I can be an inspiration to other people like me.
Director Ameet Chana said, “Varun is a very talented young actor and blew me away with his ability to pick up rhythm and rhymes in a matter of seconds, Oliver is an actor that I have seen a number of times on the Watford Palace stage and knew he would make the perfect Mr. Burton and Medhavi was a fabulous find as her comedy timing is outstanding. I cannot wait for her to bring the character of 'Ammi' to life.”
The productions media partner is Star Plus. Star Plus is the UK’s leading Asian TV channel on Sky 705, Virgin Media 803, YuppTV. Star Plus is a Hindi language HD general entertainment channel with English subtitles, offering a variety of top rated shows including chart topping dramas, reality, talent shows, international format such as The Voice & MasterChef & has been the top choice for the UK’s loyal 4mn+ Asian diaspora. Star Gold is a dedicated Bollywood movie channel on Sky 729, Virgin Media 801. Star Bharat is available on Sky 704 and Virgin Media 802 & YuppTV.