Wednesday, 16 October 2019

DANCE REVIEW: Some Like It Hip Hop - The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.

ZooNation’s performance of ‘Some Like it Hip Hop’ last night at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, was a beautiful story of love and revolution set in a concept city where books aren’t destroyed and women are subservient to men. The story follows two women who are exiled from the city for ‘breaking the rules’ and thus forced to return dressed as men. in a parallel subplot we watch the story of the governor of the city understanding what causes him to become so harsh and corrupt.

The two leading female vocalists had the most stunning soul voices, particularly when singing together, they created many beautiful and empowering melodies. There were other characters who sung, for example one of the outcast citizens, played by D.J Walde, sung alongside playing guitar whilst another member of the cast danced. His style contrasted massively to the hip hop style RnB music in the rest of the performance, being more similar to the style of Jack Johnson. My favourite of D.J Walde’s songs had to be ‘Invisible Me’ which I felt was so sincere and calming. In the finale of the production the entire cast came together in perfect harmony to sing ‘Some Like It Hip Hop’ and they even got the audience up singing and dancing with them. This was a really heart-warming element of the piece creating a buzzing atmosphere within the theatre throughout the audience.

The set was made up of large wooden structures creating a balcony along the back of the stage. This held the giant sun shape which was essentially a large circular cut out with golden light shining through flooding the stage with sunshine. This was covered over with a black cut out creating the illusion of the governor ‘hiding the sun’. Visually, this was very powerful, particularly when the governor softened and unveiled the sun towards the end of the show making every element of the stage become soaked in yellow light. This created the effect of a sun set and mirrored the peace of the city at last. The set also had two large moving crate light structures which were adapted into many different set pieces, used for sleeping on, climbing over, or as the harsh walls of the city. This was effective in creating a multi-locational performance.

One of the main elements of the performance was, of course, the Hip Hop which admittedly was flawless. Each character had so much fluidity and ease of movement, creating an effortless performance. This was true in both the group dances and the solos, although, for me, I found the solo performances conveyed a deeper emotion and thus were highly powerful. I found there were a myriad of different styles embodied by the dancers which, although executed with flare, felt slightly mismatched. But none the less, every dance was sound and enjoyable.

The music used by the Kate Prince Company in the performance covered a massive spectrum from rap to pop music and even elements of folk singing. A lot of the music had a strong beat creating a pounding in the theatre so I couldn’t help but bounce in my seat. However, this was mellowed by the slightly smoother songs creating musical contour throughout the performance. The musical elements of the piece were really strong, I’m even listening to their playlist online right now!

Last night I came out of the theatre with a spring in my step. This is an absolutely fabulous production filled with so much talent. It's totally empowering and I would love to see other productions by Kate Prince’s company.

Reviewer - Grace McNicholas
on - 15/10/19

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