Rifco Theatre Company announces an extended online screening of 'Mushy: Lyrically Speaking’

Tuesday 07th April 2020 16:29 EDT

Rifco Theatre Company’s acclaimed rap infused play ‘Mushy: Lyrically Speaking’ will be streamed online for free for the next few months in an effort to increase digital content available during the isolation period.

Based on the true story of Educating Yorkshire’s Musharaf Asghar, the teenager who captured the hearts of the nation, he rose to fame overnight when he overcame his severe stammer with the help of his inspirational teacher Mr Burton.

Infused with rap and lyrical narration by rapper Raxstar, Pravesh Kumar’s play, directed by Ameet Chana, toured in the Autumn of 2019 receiving rave audience and critical reviews for its inspiring performances, engaging storytelling and heartwarming comedy.

Varun Raj plays Mushy, the title role inspired by Musharaf Asghar. Varun 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, The Mouse, the Wolf and the Duck at the Unicorn, 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, including Absurd Person Singular and Sleeping Beauty.

Mushy’s ammi (mum) is played by Medhavi Patel. 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.

Musharaf Asghar said, “I’m really excited that Rifco Theatre Company is continuing to tell 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.”

Alongside this video release, Rifco’s creative team will be bringing you a programme of Rifco Digital content including the opportunity to enjoy our music videos and engage with new digital resources. Rifco will also continue their training programme, Rifco Associates, with online training and mentoring that will continue to support their new writers.

Artistic Director Pravesh Kumar said, “During this period of uncertainty, artists will have a key role to play in keeping us inspired and hopeful. Rifco Theatre Company is committed to keeping connected with our audiences by delivering innovative theatre online and we'll be presenting some of our back catalogue of hits and showcasing new script readings from our Rifco Associates. Kicking off we'll showcase our wonderful rap musical ‘Mushy: Lyrically Speaking’ inspired by interviews with Dewsbury student Musharaf Asghar. A wonderful story of strength and humanity at a time when we all need a dose of hope."

Director of the show Ameet Chana said, “At a time of uncertainty and huge change to our daily lives it gives us great pleasure to bring you the digital version of ‘Mushy, Lyrically Speaking’ from the stage to your living rooms for you to enjoy with your friends, families and loved ones.”

This free stream is being launched on Rifco’s new website which has been designed to highlight the digital work created so far and those digital projects in the pipeline. As well as ‘Mushy: Lyrically Speaking’ audience can go to the ‘Watch’ section of the website to see Banana Sharma’s ‘I Am British Asian’ and many videos from previous shows.

Streaming from Tuesday 7 April on Rifco Theatre Company’s Vimeo Channel and through www.rifcotheatre.com.

(The Production was originally co-produced with Watford Palace Theatre and live streamed in partnership with Pilot Theatre).

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