H2, Edinburgh Playhouse <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

H2, by the young Brazilian choreographer Bruno Beltrao, is a hip-hop show that unravels as you watch it. A few sketches are sharp enough to project into the vast, gloomy Playhouse. The rest, a great slab of material, wouldn't work anywhere.

At first, Beltrao's choreography looks like smart editing. H2 opens with three of his dancers doing their flashiest steps to "The Flight of the Bumblebee". The stage lights up in squares, highlighting one man at a time - it's a like a music video on stage, cutting from move to move. Beltrao's company, the Grupo de Rua de Niteroi, is made up of street dancers. He auditioned 250 to find this fast, athletic cast, and here he lets them use their crowd-pleasing skills. It's the last we'll see of those.

Behind the dancers, a screen shows the slogan "Hip hop loves the beat of the music". Leonardo Silva Racco "Bacolo" shows extraordinary control at flickering speed. He snaps from pose to pose, head tilting, arms cutting the air.

When the slogan fades to "Hip hop loves", the 10 dancers stand staring at the audience, all machismo. Then each man turns to his neighbour for a long kiss, holding the snog long enough for the audience to laugh, then sigh, then applaud.

The rest of the show is a long, dull slog, and Beltrao's score makes it even flatter. The dancers show impressive stamina, but they're stuck with whatever point their choreographer was trying to make.

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