Diversity, HMV Apollo Hammersmith, London

3.00

Let's hear it for the (toy) boys

The dance troupe Diversity know how to deliver. Diversitoys – Bringing a Toy Story to Life is precision-aimed at the millions of fans who voted them to victory on Britain's Got Talent. It's a bright, shiny show, dashing cheerfully from videogame narrative to audience involvement to greatest hits. Throughout, there's bouncy personality and a sure sense of what their audience want.

Created and choreographed by Diversity leader, Ashley Banjo, Diversitoys casts the group as action figures who magically come to life in a toy shop. Video scenes set up the story with computer animation and a rumbling voiceover. It leads into a brilliant image of the troupe's nine members standing in their toy packaging, breaking out through the cellophane as they're brought to life.

There's some more plot, about gifted toymaker Da Vinci and his envious rival, Mr Grief. Blueprints for a new toy are stolen, and must be rescued; the toys plunge into action. We never see Da Vinci or Mr Grief. The narrative is an excuse for the Diversity team to meet other toys, their guest-stars.

The female dance troupe Sugar Free appear as dolls, doing some candy-coated flirting with the boys of Diversity, while contortionist Delia du Sol becomes a plot MacGuffin, climbing out of a tiny Perspex cube.

The most spectacular star is THePETEBOX, a beatboxer who can layer different sounds until he's singing the rhythm, bass and vocal line of a song. With a nice line in patter, and an astonishing range of sounds, he was one of the show's highlights.

There's a bigger role for young Aidan Davis, another Britain's Got Talent star, who struts through street-dance routines as Bionic Boy. There's no danger of forgetting Diversity's reality-television background. A video montage gives highlights of their television career, while Bionic Boy fills a lull in the story by reading the book of the TV series. That's an excuse for the greatest hits, with a huge cheer from the audience when they see the team back in their familiar costumes.

Recognition is a key to Diversity's dance style. Ashley Banjo knows how to trigger audience response. The routines throw in fragments of dance, enough to prompt a memory before diving onto the next image. A Michael Jackson tribute ricochets from "Billie Jean" to the Jackson Five, glimpses of iconic moves mashed together with flickering speed.

It works because it's put together with such energy: the momentum never fades. A snatch of the Beach Boys prompts a surfing scene, the crew lying down as a human conveyor belt while young Perri Kiely "surfs" over the top of them. The image is there and gone, before they plunge onto the next one.

Most of the numbers stress teamwork, from the high-energy unison moves to the group lifts and catches. They clump together, then send one of their child dancers, Kiely or Mitchell Craske, hurtling through the air. I'd like to see a little more of Diversity as soloists, from Ashley's soft precision to Terry's force. Meanwhile, the drilled unity and explosive acrobatics made this audience very happy.





Touring to 26 April (Diversityofficial.com)

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tv 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there