What an incredible performance! I remembered how awesome Some Like It Hip Hop was when I first saw this back in 2011 with my young niece and nephews. They were so impressed that they dubbed me as the coolest aunty ever for exposing them to such an exhilarating experience. I vaguely remember the content of the show back then but recall the euphoric state it left us all with.
Eight years later, I am pleased to say that the energy hasn’t worn off in spite of seeing at least three other dance performances by ZooNation since then. On this occasion, I was accompanied by my 10-year-old stepdaughter, and my status as a cool adult remains intact after being enraptured by this fresh show.
The return of Some Like It Hip Hop carries an important message about women’s rights, boundaries and consent.
As a predominantly straight play kind of theatregoer, I confess to finding dance performances overindulging. I get bored just as quickly as I get mesmerised. However, this has never been the case with any of ZooNation’s productions. Long standing followers of this dance theatre company and its founder, Kate Prince, would know that they often fuse foot tapping soundtracks, physical theatre, hip hop and catchy vocals to narrate a family friendly story. And by family friendly, there’s very little compromise as their productions captivate both children and adults alike. I forgot that my primary reason for attending the show was because I had a young person with me. Their stories usually contain a moderate amount of tension to keep it family friendly, and to prevent distracting the mind from appreciating the dance.
Some Like It Hip Hop is set in a city ruled by an embittered governor where women are forbidden from having an education, and books have been banned. Women citizens are made subservient to men. When two of the women, Kerri and JoJo retaliate against the system, they are thrown out of the city walls. These two women devise a cunning plan to dress up as men in order to re-enter the city which comes with predictable Shakespeareian style comedy of mistaken identities.
Then there is the bookworm character, Simeon who is in search for love in the ‘elite’ city. He meets his perfect match who shares his love for books, but is under disguise as a man. The main humour for me however was the hapless “Invisible Me” character who melts rhythmically between heightened recognisable daily gestures to convey his insignificance in society. Ironically his standalone scenes felt like an interlude for most of the show until his luck changed; “Invincible Me”.
With the audience encouraged to cheer and make noise, the performance ran the risk of becoming a weary pantomime (which I have a strong dislike for), but the comedy is played out through strong physical theatre by highly skilled dancers. Some parts were goofy, but overall there was a good amount of sophistication to the humour.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to catch ZooNation’s Sylvia at The Old Vic theatre would probably agree that this style of theatre is an accessible gateway to begin conversations about equality. The return of Some Like It Hip Hop carries an important message about women’s rights, boundaries and consent.
If the change in season is getting you down or has caused your mood to dip, then head over to the Peacock Theatre for this extravagant experience packed with daring choreography and great music that you’d probably want to ‘Shazam’ for your next party.
The audience’s vocal expressions and protests during the show indicated that the message is clear and understood. As a creative educator, this makes me proud of this dance theatre company’s commitment to engage, entertain and most importantly, educate their audience.
If the change in season is getting you down or has caused your mood to dip, then head over to the Peacock Theatre for this extravagant experience packed with daring choreography and great music that you’d probably want to ‘Shazam’ for your next party. It is bound to uplift your spirit. If you do take young ones with you, you’re most likely to earn a reputation as the coolest adult for years to come.