Over the Edge, Barbican Theatre, London
Friday 30 July 2010
Boy Blue Entertainment's new show, Over the Edge, goes from Tube train commuters to alien abduction, in a series of sketches linked by a hip-hop beat. It is the follow-up to Pied Piper, which won awards for its street- dance retelling of the story of the rats of Hamelin.
Boy Blue's artistic directors, choreographer Kenrick "HO" Sandy and musician Michael "Mikey J" Asante, again lead the artistic team. The show starts with the world on its side. A dancer sits at a breakfast table, balancing carefully because everything has been tipped to a 90-degree angle. The box of cereal and bowls must be nailed down. Instead of exploring the image, Sandy tips it back again. Stagehands pull everything upright, and the dancers launch themselves into a street-dance breakfast.
After wriggling into street clothes, they rush for the Tube. Video by Steve Williams suggests the view from the carriage window. It's clever, but the scene really takes off when they move away from the scenario for a stomping unison dance.
A woman drifts into a daydream over her magazine. A clutch of fashion people descend on her, switching her clothes and shoes, turning her into a catwalk model. But where the other models pout and smoulder, our heroine beams with uncool delight, carried away by the fantasy. The alien abduction scene is one of the oddest. We see a woman and her friends on an alien ship, the men wired up, the woman on an examination table. The stage is dim, with flashes of green light. For a dance scene, it's far too static, with the abducted humans given little room to move.
Sandy and Asante move furthest from their sketch format with the krumping scene. Another voiceover explains the background of this style, but we're here for the dancers. They push themselves wildly into the moves, bodies snapping and flailing, everything fierce.
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