Into the Hoods: Remixed at the Peacock Theatre
In a move that seeks to redefine the status of hip-hop dance and acknowledge its ever-growing influence and popularity, a substantial investment was made to bring street styles to the stage. The company ZooNation, founded in 2002 by Kate Prince, was conceived to give hip-hop dancers the opportunity to become stars in their own right rather than a mere support to famous singers. Through the creation of full-length theatrical pieces, it has been a platform for expression for many talented artists.
After an extremely successful West End run in 2008, the group has decided to revive their hit show Into the Hoods, a dance comedy mixing a number of classic fairytales and setting them into the modern world, more precisely on the Ruff Endz Estate. The audience is introduced to the talented and charismatic inhabitants of the estate one by one, from aspiring DJ Spinderella and MC Rap On Zel, to the struggling music producer Jaxx and his love interest Lil Red, a singer awaiting her breakthrough.
Two lost schoolchildren find themselves caught up in the eventful world of the estate. The landlord promises to give them money for their bus ride home if they can procure four gifts that he wishes to present to his daughter Rap On Zel on her 18th birthday. In a matter of days, the children must find “an iPhone as white as milk, a hoodie as red as blood, some weave as yellow as corn and trainers as pure as gold”.
The concept of updating overused fairytales may initially leave one sceptical, but the spot-on humour and high energy of the cast win everyone over. From the engaging choreographies to the catchy soundtrack of popular songs, the production lacks nothing in the entertainment factor. The audience gets more and more involved as the excellently orchestrated performance develops. The dancers’ technical ability gives substance to the lighthearted comedy, and there is no drop in the tempo of the performance as one eye-catching dance sequence follows another and the set and costumes keep surprising.
One of the distinguishing factors of the production is the vibrant atmosphere. Rather than a formal setting where spectators passively absorb the performance, the audience is encouraged to make as much noise as possible, and while adults laugh and cheer, younger spectators jump and dance in their seats. The greatest achievement of Into the Hoods, however, is that it captures the frenetic vibes of a precarious street scene and puts a positive spin on it: a rough estate is seen as a hub for talent and creative exchanges, a haven of potential that heightens youngsters’ drive rather than dim their hope.
Into the Hoods: Remixed is on at the Peacock Theatre from 23rd October until 14th November 2015, for further information or to book visit here.