The Five & the Prophecy of Prana at the Barbican
A spectacular collaboration between Olivier award winning team Boy Blue Entertainment, manga artist Akio Tanaka and Ben & Will Animation brings to life the tale of The Five & the Prophecy of Prana. The result is an enchanting, entertaining and complicated journey as five tear-away youngsters train to become the Guardians of Prana.
The beautiful mix of hip-hop with elements of Shaolin kung fu creates strong moves and passionate body conversations between the cast. With a host of fans in the audience, impressive choreography by co-founder Sandy is met with a resounding gasp. Most captivating is the bodywork of Michele “Paleta” Rhyner. As Soo Lin, she purrs across the stage, with an over-arched spine and muscular grace. Her slight frame dominates and her flexibility astonishes while assisting us in our empathy for The Five. The Five are a strong bunch of movers whose journey is relatable and endearing from Tuggy (Theo “Godson” Oloyade), who starts as an overweight shoplifter and charms with his slow development, to Stylouse (Bradley “Bradz” Charles) who turns from running the streets and too many crimes to mention to becoming respectful and determined in his new craft.
There is no doubt that the company is strong, and their ensemble is based on friendship and explorative, refined hip-hop technique, however there are moments of slightly self-indulgent repetition that simply celebrate their impressive talent rather than moving the story forward. The tale is also disturbed by a lot of flashbacks meaning the complexity of the script combined with the non-linear pattern of scenes can leave a lot of holes in the plot that are casually interjected much later on. In contrast, the out-of-time lip-syncing voiceovers are wonderfully appropriate and a clever idea. All told, the company’s support and nurturing of sheer skill and intention is really rather admirable.
The Five & the Prophecy of Prana is at the Barbican until 2nd November 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch behind the scenes footage from The Five & the Prophecy of Prana here: