Spectacular. That’s the only way to describe the performance that was Some Like It Hip Hop, staged at London’s Peacock Theatre. I’ve never seen an audience rise to their feet and dance at the end of a theatre production in the way that this show made them do. I’m talking everyone.
Hundreds of people bopping along to music in front of their seats, shaking their feet and body popping (some a little out of rhythm!) and cheering! They were in awe. After watching the talented dance performance, the audience couldn’t wait to start dancing too. The show had energized them, it had energized me! So when the cast told everyone to stand up and dance, the audience needed no convincing. They were inspired. Even I ended up joining in the fun! Outstanding. That’s the only way to describe the dancers that were before my eyes. I watched as they choreographed the crowd, it was amazing. The cast had included the audience into their show, and achieved this successfully. When the cast said “JUMP! JUMP!” the theatre erupted in cheers. The vibration and thud of everyone jumping in unison rocked the theatre hall. Passers-by must have felt the tremble of the mini-earthquake outside the Theatre that was the audience having their own party, friendly bumping the person next to them, who in most cases were complete strangers.
So, that was the reaction to the world premiere run of Some Like It Hip Hop, the long awaited brand new show from Sadler’s Wells Resident Company, Zoo Nation. Co-written and directed by company founder Kate Prince, this latest production features some of the best hip hop dancers in the business. Starring Tommy Franzen as Simeon Sun, Lizzie Gough (Jo Jo Jameson), Teneisha Bonner (Kerri Kimbalaye) and Duwane Taylor (The Governor), Some Like It Hip Hop entertained the packed crowd through the language of hip hop. Based in a city where books are banned and women are kept subservient to men, the production successfully captures and expands on issues of love, rules, revelation and mistaken identity.
The plot follows The Governor who forbids love after the love of his life dies. In his anguish, The Governor locks away the sun and separated men from women in his city. Duwane’s moving performance as The Governor illustrated his heart wrenching pain and gripped the audience. He then chucked the two central characters Jo Jo and Kerri out of his city after they rebelled against his strict regime, leaving them no hope. The only option for the rebels was to return to the city dressed as men to be accepted, creating a whole list of humorous problems!
The music and perfect timing of each dance was brilliant – at times breathtaking. Each song continued the story for the two women as they attempted to keep their secret on the hush. It didn’t help that Jo Jo had fallen in love with a man, forgetting that she too was wearing a moustache! But that’s when the fun began!
My favourite part had to be the 7 rules of seduction thought up by the male characters of the show. Their idea of “wooing” a woman was extremely funny – especially when they agreed that the best present to give a woman was a hoover.
Without giving too much away it was not until The Governor’s daughter Oprah turned up that an unexpected turn of events occurred in the story…
The soulful singing, the out of this world dances and not to mention the rapping by narrator Tachia Newall who played Quindon Marshall, all tied in to make Some Like It Hip Hop the phenomenon that it was.
Who would have thought that rap, hip hop, bashment, soul and dance could create such a powerful story.