Some Like it Hip Hop at Peacock Theatre
Imagine a world where the sun has been blacked out, books are banned, and jobs are secured through dance-offs. ZooNation’s new production Some Like It Hip Hop has a distinctive ’80s vibe, but it could also be portraying a dystopian future where men work as accountants, women are subservient, and society’s rejects are banished to live on the streets behind the city walls.
Once upon a time, the governor (Christian Alozie) of the city became bitter and angry. He pushed the sun away, banned books and made it so the “fairer sex” were subservient. Jo-Jo (Lizzie Gough) and Kerri (Jade Hackett) have jobs collecting paperwork from – and generally serving – their male counterparts.
When they are discovered reading a book, the two heroines are banished beyond the city gates. Upon discovering that the governor is looking to hire men, the two dress up in suits and moustaches, pass a series of dance-offs and go back into the city to live in a dormitory and work as men. Jo-Jo soon falls in love with Simeon (Tommy Franzen), who shares her love of books, while Kerri tries to dodge the advances of new girl Oprah, who has a secret identity of her own.
Based on Some Like It Hot and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Some Like It Hip Hop melds instrumental music, impressive vocal skills, Shakespearian narration and hip-hop dance to create a story about the struggle for freedom against oppression, mistaken identity, and love in all its forms. The costumes have a strikingly ’80s appearance – think Seymour’s dress sense from Little Shop Of Horrors and plenty of quirky librarian-style blazers and skirts – but the industrial set design offers something more apocalyptic. The spotlights are perfectly in time with the music, and Johanna Town’s lighting scheme effectively changes the tone and scene setting.
It’s refreshing to see hip-hop being celebrated and expertly executed, with backflips, somersaults, head spins and isolations aplenty. Some Like It Hip Hop cleverly references Twelfth Night, and fans of the play will be able to see parallels between themes and characters, but it also manages to be unique. It’s a high-energy, engaging show which is introducing hip-hop to a wider audience.
Featured photo: courtesy of Sadler’s Wells
Some Like it Hip Hop is at Peacock Theatre from 23rd October until 9th November 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.