REDD at the Barbican
Olivier Award-winners Boy Blue – vibrant hip hop group and creators of the internationally renowned sensation Blak Whyte Gray – are back with their world premiere of its sequel REDD, commissioned by the Barbican. The performance is magnetic; the show is about life – the good and the bad – and explores the balance between light and dark, happiness and unhappiness, as well as our struggle to find serenity following trauma.
Composer Michael Asante and choreographer Kendrick Sandy have taken hip hop from its foundations in the streets and clubs and transformed it into dynamic and inspiring dance theatre. Combining the raw power of its origins with thought-provoking conceptual art, the result is remarkable. REDD – from a Gaelic word meaning “to create order” – attempts to express how our minds construct order from the chaos of our lives, our perceptions and our emotions.
A top choreographer and performer in the UK urban and theatrical dance scene, Sandy has achieved an intellectually riveting investigation of important questions about the human condition via compelling compositions of electrifying and powerful physical movement. Asante’s lo-fi hip hop score is equally galvanising: with a concise relationship between sound and motion, each action is punctuated with the suggestion of contradiction while echoing a spirit of revolutionary discovery.
Nine dancers pursue an emotional – often painful, torturous and terrifying – philosophical exploration of what it is to be human in a tumultuous world, navigating life’s highs and lows, from trauma to redemption. It’s an exploration of coming to terms with struggle, defiance, trepidation, anger, elation and peace. Incorporating a sense of ancestral undertones and contemporary hip hop – with its classic popping, locking and breaking – with the perfection of technique and stage presence of modern ballet, the show is mesmerising, invigorating and psychologically provocative.
If an objective of art is to enlighten and open the mind, it is realised by Sandy and Asante, who take hip hop from its urban roots and transform it into a dance form with universal appeal – a purpose further expanded upon with the captivating explorative introspection of their current work. Innovative, intriguing and entertaining, REDD is an exhilarating accomplishment.
Photo: Carl Fox
REDD is at the Barbican from 26th September until 5th October 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here