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Some Like it Hip Hop

★★★★★

Peacock Theatre

Some Like it Hip Hop

Some Like it Hip Hop

Peacock Theatre

Reviewed – 24th October 2019

★★★★★

 

“Some of the moves were so athletic and gravity defying that they induced audible gasps of disbelief from those watching”

 

Almost exactly eight years to the day, Zoonation’s show returns to the theatre where it staged its world premiere for a short revival.

A grieving Governor is so heart-broken, that he obscures the sun, bans books and exiles women. Two ladies in not so much of a nod, more of an affectionate wink to Some Like It Hot and Twelfth Night, sneak back into the city dressed as men and try to blend in, producing much hilarity and unexpected love.

An impressive set flies in and out with military precision and is so slick that it almost matches the staccato movement of the surrounding dancers. Lighting is sombre, matching the mood of the governor and yet is always precisely on point. Costumes are suitably ‘street’ and are cleverly designed to give the actors all the room they need for the lightening quick movement required.

You could pick holes in the script, yet I’m fairly confident that not a single person in the packed auditorium was there to find a sub-plot, they were there for the dance and boy what a treat they had.

The story was told by a narrator and my only quibble was that he was not always easy to understand, cutting off the end of his sentences and sometimes being drowned out by the score. The two female singers had rich, soulful voices that complemented each other beautifully and effortlessly filled the theatre.

Some Like it Hip Hop is an ensemble piece and all the dancers clearly have a trust and respect for each others work and great humour is injected into the show. As the Governor, (Christian Alozie) is strong, masculine and as moody as the World that he has created, his rooted to the spot krumping is a joy to behold. The two lead ladies are terrific. Jo-Jo (Lizzie Gough) is quirky and delightfully complements her love interest Simeon. Kerri (Jade Hackett) with one lucky punch, is looked upon as more of a man than all the hunks surrounding her and makes the most of all her humorous moments in both her movement and facial expression. Simeon (Tommy Franzen) is extraordinary. His dancing is clean, controlled and seemingly effortless, with every move, however small, having a purpose.

So many scenes were memorable, a clever section with six characters all restlessly going to sleep, an extremely funny song ‘Rules Of Seduction’ and the final battle for supremacy ramps the acrobatic dance moves to a whole new level.

I was delighted to see that the audience was made up of mostly teenagers and children, I was treated to the most amazing curtain call I have ever seen with each actor having a short dance isolation whilst the rest of the cast mirrored their movements in a surrounding horseshoe. Some of the moves were so athletic and gravity defying that they induced audible gasps of disbelief from those watching.

This is a high energy, incredibly skilful show that will live in the memory for a long time. I’m not sure if it’s good form for a reviewer to stand up and join in the dancing at the end of the show but I did.

At the very beginning of the evening, we were encouraged by the narrator to make as much noise as possible. That is exactly what happened and what a happy, excited noise it was.

 

Reviewed by Chris White

Photography by Johan Persson

 


Some Like it Hip Hop

Peacock Theatre until 9th November

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Cirque Berserk! | ★★★★ | February 2018
The Snowman | ★★★★★ | November 2018
Tango Fire | ★★★★ | January 2019
Hotel | ★★★★ | February 2019
Yamato – Passion | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Beats On Pointe | ★★★ | May 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Six
★★★★★

Arts Theatre

Six

Six

Arts Theatre

Reviewed – 5th March 2019

★★★★★

 

“one of the hottest shows on right now, created by brilliant, talented young artists who are shaking up the West End”

 

The 2019 Olivier Awards nominations were announced yesterday, with Six up for five. For a student-created show that debuted at Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, Six has skyrocketed to the highest ranks of London theatre. The performance starring all six of Henry VIII’s wives joins Come from Away, Tina, and Fun Home in the Olivier category for Best New Musical. These are the biggest players in the West End, and Six has incredibly but undeniably earned its place among them.

Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, and directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage, Six is not like musicals you’ve seen before. Framed as a pop concert/X Factor competition, the ex-queens take turns singing their stories, all vying for the title of Who Had It Worst with the infamously bad-tempered King Henry. Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. The six songs are as different as the six women. Marlow and Moss cover the range of pop, drawing influence from modern queens Beyoncé, Adele, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Lilly Allen, and Alicia Keys. Genuinely hit-worthy music, beyond-clever lyrics (rapid-fire historical references spun with millennial-modern allusions), and knock-out performances (from the queens as well as their all-female live band) combine to create a formidable new contender on the musical scene.

Jarneia Richard-Noel (Catherine of Aragon), Millie O’Connell (Anne Boleyn), Natalie Paris (Jane Seymour), Alexia McIntosh (Anna of Cleves), Aimie Atkinson (Katherine Howard), and Maiya Quansah-Breed (Catherine Parr) rock the glittered combat boots and Tudor-punk, power-glam outfits that have earned Gabriella Slade an Olivier nomination for Best Costume Design. The queens belt out their songs and slay their choreography with the same energy you’d expect from the real-life divas who inspired them. McIntosh stands out for her excellent comedic presence.

Although it may seem dubious, considering the premise involves Henry’s wives competing over who had the worst marriage, the show is undoubtedly feminist. The six women take the microphone to reclaim their stories – to give their perspectives, which have been left out of the history books. That they all perform as each other’s supporting vocals and backup dancers effectively reveals the facetious nature of their rivalry. They’re really a team. And although they only come to this realisation in the end, the show spends the whole time arguing they were people, not just wives.

Six is largely tongue-in-cheek. It’s funny and fun more than it’s informative. The whole thing is joyously playful, surprisingly fresh, and wildly entertaining. There’s a delightful, amateurish silliness to the concept, which seems to stem from a couple of sleep-deprived students procrastinating their History final. (Recent Cambridge grads Marlow and Moss wrote the play during their exams).

Six has had an incredible journey, from its beginnings at Edinburgh Fringe just two years ago, to the five Olivier nominations it received yesterday. This is one of the hottest shows on right now, created by brilliant, talented young artists who are shaking up the West End.

 

Reviewed by Addison Waite

Photography by Idil Sukan

 

Six – winner of our 2018 Awards – Best Musical

 


Six

Arts Theatre until January 5th 2020

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Six | ★★★★★ | January 2018
All or Nothing | ★★★★ | February 2018
Ruthless the Musical | ★★ | March 2018
Knights of the Rose | ★★★ | July 2018

 

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