Beats at the Soho
In 1994 the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act made raves illegal. Raves were defined as gatherings of people around music that was “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”. But as with all forbidden fruit, their popularity increases.
Welcome to Johnno McCreadie’s world. At 15 years old, and on the threshold of everything, Johnno is about to get on an exciting techno music ride, complete with hallucinogens.
Beats is the story of Johnno’s first rave experience. Told by award-winning Glaswegian writer and performer Kieran Hurley, with only the addition of DJ Hushpuppy (Alan Miller) and a team of audio visual artists, Beats is like no other storytelling around.
Kieran’s talent is seemingly endless: the poetic flow of his words against the busy background music supplied by Hushpuppy, his expressions, and the descriptive content of the story are superb. In particular, Kieran is able to rile emotion from within, stirring excitement and suspense with just the use of his voice, and his choice of words.
As Kieran unravels the circumstances around Johnno, the audience is introduced to several other characters including his mum, his friends, and a policeman. Although Kieran is well on his way to mastering the different voices, there is still a little room for improvement, which knocks his overall performance off being perfect.
Hushpuppy mixes a few familiar techno-beats (such as The Prodigy) with less recognisable tunes. The musical accompaniment enhances Kieran’s recital without drowning it. Even those with limited knowledge of the genre will be able to appreciate its place in Kieran’s production.
The visual effects projected onto a screen behind the seated Kieran ensure the audience’s imagination is nudged along with the story. As the plot intensifies, the graphics and music peak, the atmosphere replicating the suffocating, claustrophobic interior of a real rave, and that is where Kieran truly excels.
Beats is on at The Soho Theatre until 26th October 2013, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for Beats here: