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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
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.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing