Tag Archives: Chris White

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

 

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Chasing Ghosts

★★★½

Etcetera Theatre

Chasing Ghosts

Chasing Ghosts

Etcetera Theatre

Reviewed – 9th October 2019

★★★½

 

“a strong piece of writing from Robert Bingham”

 

Hot on the heels of ‘Bipolar Me’, Etcetera Theatre have put on another play focussing on mental health, this being a new piece of writing performed by new company JB Theatre.

Seemingly normal chap Simon, lashes out at a female friend of his, breaking her jaw. He ends up in a police cell and despite being discharged, refuses to leave. An unconventional priest comes in to counsel Simon, help him confront his demons and try to get to the bottom of why he is continually being confronted by ghostly figures.

A fairly basic set consisting of a table, two chairs and a couple of stools did the job, lighting was fine with occasional nice little flourishes and music was well chosen. I did feel that each music cue was sliced off, a gentle fade would have been so much easier on the ear.

The play starts with priest Cade (Robert Bingham) reading aloud a devastating diagnosis that he had received from the hospital. This scene stayed with me throughout and as he used a series of bizarre tactics to counsel Simon, you wondered just what demons he was facing himself. Simon (Ben Felton) gives a very strong performance. He is wholly invested in his character, although never specified, he is clearly dealing with PTSD and the stillness and strength of his voice somehow makes his vulnerability particularly heart-breaking. An early scene when he attempts to escape his demons through dance, is particularly effective. Cade is a fascinating character, certainly not like any priest I’ve ever seen. The actor clearly has fun with him, there are some nice moments of humour and although he is possibly slightly overplayed, that opening scene keeps coming back to validate his behaviour. Callie (Katherine Lea) completes the cast, underwritten a little in my opinion, her downstage reading of a letter she had written to Simon is beautifully performed. I did however have an issue with her ripped jeans. In fashion, sure, but whenever the actress doubled as one of the demons, despite the fact that her face was hidden, you saw the ripped jeans and just thought, ‘that’s Cally!’ A simple pair of black trousers would have helped the illusion. A nice little hinted at love story between Simon and Cally, I hope her boyfriend Dan is given the boot.

It becomes apparent that personal tragedy from Simon’s early family life is haunting him, now the earlier mentioned health issue is haunting Cade. When Simon asks Cade “Will I will ever see you again?” and Cade waits a beat and answers “It’s unlikely”, it cut through me like a knife.

This is a strong piece of writing from Robert Bingham, the closing scene with a brilliant light fade, is really impactful. Thought provoking stuff with an interesting twist, I left the theatre wondering who had been counselling whom. I hope that JB Theatre go from strength to strength, they have a play here ideal for the festival circuit.

We all have our own personal demons, as I headed for the Northern line, I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder to see if there was a cloaked figure following me.

 

Reviewed by Chris White

 


Chasing Ghosts

Etcetera Theatre until 12th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Wasp | ★★★½ | June 2019
Past Perfect | ★★★★ | July 2019
Vice | ★★½ | July 2019
Before I Am Lost | ★★ | August 2019
Belamour | ★★★★ | August 2019
Puttana | ★★★ | August 2019
The Parentheticals: Improdyssey | ★★★★ | August 2019
Unlovable | ★★★ | August 2019
Women On The Edge | ★★★ | August 2019
Bipolar Me | ★★★ | October 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews