Friday, 25 October 2019

DANCE REVIEW: Some Like It Hip Hop - The Peacock Theatre, London

An absolute HIPHOP. A night at Some Like it Hip Hop at the Peacock Theatre felt like ZooNation had come home. Not an empty seat in the house. The crowd was a real mix of the London theatre crowd and a rich diverse youth scene. Being half term the audience had more kids than you would usually see on a wet Thursday night. The story was a simple tale of love conquers all but set in a world where women hold little value, where books are burned and everyone is subservient to the Governor. The sun has been blocked out from the sky and hearts and feelings are hidden and love is forbidden. Mistaken identity, gender fluidity it has it all with a nod to the Billy Wilder Film ‘Some Like It Hot’.

I was blown away by the sheer exuberance of the performers, every spin, twerk or flip was greeted by screams, whistles and shrieks by the crowd. The crowd had been encouraged to participate from the beginning and this was their show. The international dance team were stars in their own right, having performed in so many events and shows ranging from the London Olympics to X Factor, choreographed performances and worked with many music artists. As I watched I kept thinking “that one’s my favourite”, but then change my mind with each burst of dance or music. So I have shortlisted the performers who need a mention.

Tommy FranzĂ©n playing Simeon, a frenetic ball of energy, in perpetual motion. How can he keep up that pace for two hours? A real crowd pleaser. Lizzie Gough playing Jo-Jo is also the assistant choreographer. She is mesmerising, humorous and Simeon’s love interest (unbeknown to him). She is an incredible street dancer and performer throughout the show and then in the finale spun on her head, break dance style, for what seemed like ages and blew my mind. Delano Spenrath playing Sylvester, strong, athletic but with the grace of a gazelle. Such a stage presence. Bradley Charles playing Tyce, how can one man fit so many flips into such a small stage? DJ Walde, performed on stage as singer, guitarist and phenomenal beat-boxer. But he is also the musical director of the show.

It’s a shame I can’t name all the others here but every member played an outstanding role in making the show a success and each with credits far beyond 'Some Like It Hip Hop'.

The second half continued at the same lively pace and the finale had every member of the troupe perform a solo mini showcase of their talent. The audience were up on their feet dancing, erupting and becoming a part of the whole show. Not for the reserved, it was a great experience of involving their home crowd. I doubt some of the young audience had ever been to the theatre before so as a first introduction this is the way to get the next generation interested and to see that theatre is no longer stuffy and middle-aged.

'Some Like It Hip Hop' started its life back in 2011 first performed in Birmingham and with its world premiere in London. It was the vision of Kate Prince who had started ZooNation back in 2002. ZooNation was set up as Kate Prince’s dance company creating narrative dance productions, working with young people and communities. Today there is a ZooNation Academy set up or young people between 4-21 to build relationships and develop their dance skills. Looking forward to ZooNation’s next venture “Message In A Bottle” using the songs of Sting.

Reviewer - Penny Curran
on - 24/10/19

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