Some Like It Hip Hop, Peacock Theatre, London
Tuesday 01 November 2011
This is glorious. Some Like It Hip Hop, the new show from streetdance company ZooNation, is a fizzing tale of love, gender politics, lost daughters and heroic librarians. The music and dancing are superb: everything in this show has wit, heart and magnificent energy.
Directed by choreographer Kate Prince, ZooNation made its name with Into the Hoods, a hip-hop retelling of Sondheim's Into the Woods that became the West End's longest-running dance show. With Some Like It Hip Hop, the company takes several leaps forward.
Prince and her team have created their own music and storyline, drawing gleefully on the cross-dressing comedy of Some Like It Hot and Twelfth Night. The setting is a cartoon dystopia, a city of corrugated iron where books are banned and women are oppressed. Thrown out of the city for insubordination, heroines Jo-Jo and Kerri sneak in by disguising themselves as men.
Prince, clearly disturbed by the strand of macho misogyny in hip-hop, creates a brilliant parody of it here. The men's crotch-grabbing swagger is a hairsbreadth away from the real thing – undercut by the way the two women pick up the attitudes, trying out straddle stances and aggression.
Prince's character comedy is wonderful. As Jo-Jo and Kerri, Lizzie Gough and Teneisha Bonner have moves so sharp you can believe they'd get away with it, while we can see their hearts quaking under the false moustaches. They're matched by Tommy Franzen as the bookish Simeon, the only man brave enough to defy the ban on books.
Though Prince and co-writer Felix Harrison provide a narration, spoken by Tachia Newall, most of the storytelling is in the songs and dances. The show can switch in an instant from ragtime piano chases to sweet love scenes. The music, by DJ Walde and Josh Cohen, swoops from hip-hop to soul and back again, with terrific live singers.
Every person in this big cast creates a distinctive character, a personal twist to the brilliant street dance tricks. Duwane Taylor has authority as the oppressive governor, with an unexpected streak of goofiness as the story turns happier. Natasha Gooden has explosive energy as his long-lost daughter.
Prince throws everything into the mix, and can risk overloading her story. But the overflow of energy here is utterly irresistible. Some Like It Hip Hop sweeps to a triumphant finale, wave after wave of dancing, each one more amazing than the last.
To 19 November (0844 412 4322)
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Photographer fights ginger discrimination with vivid portraits of redheads
Akram Khan: Choreographer says dance is 'as important as maths and being a doctor'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up