Beats on Pointe
Reviewed – 21st May 2019
“All credit must go to the dancers, for their talent and unflagging energy, but ultimately this is an unremarkable evening”
Beats on Pointe is described in the press release as ‘an electric fusion of street dance and ballet’, but ballet enthusiasts will be disappointed, as it is heavy on the street dance, with only the most cursory nod to pretty basic ballet choreography. And, disappointingly, ballet is mostly signified in this show by girls (and one boy) in tutus. Brodie Chesher is the performatively camp ballet boy (and crowd favourite incidentally) and it seemed a shame that his role here was so restricted, as there were fleeting moments which hinted at a grace and physical truthfulness denied him in this unashamedly commercial show.
Athough Beats on Pointe is predominantly a street dance showcase, there are also moments of comedy, beatboxing and drumming; there is even some singing (an ill-thought out and completely out of place duet). It is a weird mish-mash of a show, tonally uneven, and seems unsure of who it has been designed for. The comedy moments are pretty cringe-inducing and by and large were met with awkward silence last night, other than the delighted giggles of the very youngest audience members – although the teenage girls were brought on board later by the bizarre twerk-off, in which the two performers were costumed as pensioners, lumme lawks what a hoot! These moments conspire to give Beats on Pointe a slightly retro feel, and there is more than a whiff of the old-fashioned variety show here.
All of these things could perhaps be forgiven if the street dance was as exciting as it can be at the highest level, but, despite the skill, stamina and athleticism of all the dancers throughout this incredibly demanding two hour show, they, and we, were continually let down by the choreography, which was repetitive in the extreme. Oriana Siew-Kim and Burak Cagin were notable for their attitude and attack, but, again, as with Brodie Chesher on the ballet side of things, felt trapped in these safe routines, which wouldn’t have been out of place on a cruise. The soundtrack played it safe and retro too – Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson and big hits like Uptown Funk and Pharrell Williams’ Happy, with a bit of Eminem thrown in for good measure. All credit must go to the dancers, for their talent and unflagging energy, but ultimately this is an unremarkable evening. As is so often the case, ‘something for everyone’ ends up meaning ‘nothing to write home about’.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
Beats on Pointe
Peacock Theatre until 16th June
Previously reviewed at this venue: