Review: ZooNation’s Some Like It Hip Hop

Published On 8 May, 2013 | By Shereen | Arts & Culture, Culture, Dance, plays, Reviews
E2E reporter Shereen Ali reviews ZooNation’s dance extravaganza, “Some Like It Hip Hop”.
ZoonNation's Some Like It Hip Hop (photograph by Simon Prince)

Photograph by Simon Prince

Some Like It Hip Hop is a wildly energetic dance and music extravaganza that will get you swaying and whooping in your seats. With thumping beats and powerful voices accompanying anything from body-popping to krumping in a comic tale of dictatorship and drag, this is a rousing show that portrays hip-hop culture at its very best.

Created in 2011 by the founder of ZooNation, Kate Prince, this is the show’s third London run aiming to show hip-hop in a positive light, dispelling the sexist, violent associations of mainstream hip-hop.

With allusions to Billy Wilder’s 1959 classic, Some Like it Hot and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the story is told primarily through dance and music, with some narration from the sparky, Tachia Newell. The story focuses on two central characters, Jo-Jo (currently played by Sarah Richards) and Kerri (Teniesha Bonner), who have been expelled from a city where the governor-turned-dictator has banned books and relegated women to second-class citizens, but are helped back in by the bookish and charming Simeon (Tommy Franzén).

We are treated to some hilarious cross-dressing as the pair try to fake their way through a macho, sexist world, adopting outrageously comical swaggers and ridiculous moustaches, whilst showing they can dance just as well, if not better than, the men. It is here that the strength of Prince’s message lies; she has managed to challenge the misogyny now found in hip-hop in a light, comical way that doesn’t weigh down the show.

The dancing is incredible, with locking, popping, break-dancing, free-style, house and hip-hop all showcased by the technically talented cast, with Bonner’s fluid and fast movements matched by Richards’ tight, sharp motions, all brought up by the cheeky, lovable Franzén, whose skill stands out all the more in his bow-tie and argyle jumper.

Added to this is the original score created by DJ Walde and Josh Cohen, that features powerful voices, MC-ing, beatboxing and some acoustic guitar with vocals. Each musical delivery is a surprise that sends the audience whooping and cheering, and it is this atmosphere that is so unique to Some Like it Hip Hop, bordering on a gig, a play and a dance-off, it manages to create an atmosphere unlike any other.

ZoonNation's Some Like It Hip Hop (photo by Simon Prince)

Photograph by Simon Prince

There are some brilliant scenes, like the love scene in the laundrette where the jazz-inspired backing singers pop out from washing machines while Simeon and Jo-Jo sexily slink around the stage, and the hysterically outdated rules of seduction scene, but some of the best moments are when the entire cast come together to dance, resulting in an explosion of slick, fast choreography that displays the evolution of hip-hop and dance in a mix of moves that are perfectly timed and executed.

As the show ends and the cast have given their final dances, the last song has been sung and the curtain has gone down, it is difficult not to have been infected by the buzz of the show and you may find yourself dancing your way home!

Some Like It Hip Hop will be showing at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre until June 30. Tickets start at £12 with a half price deals for under 16s. Book your tickets now!

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About The Author

I’m a freelance journalist/writer, which is a grand way of saying I love to write! Also, for your pigeon-holing needs, I’m female, I’m British and I’m what they call a Brit-Asian. You know, straddling both sides of the 2 cultures, never quite one, never quite the other, that sort of thing. The kind of thing post-colonialists love.

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