Being a Leicester City fan I could see so many similarities between the Foxes’ amazing season and ZooNation’s thrilling performance of Into The Hoods: Remixed at The Curve, writes Christian March.
Firstly they are both fairytales, although the inter-woven stories in Into The Hoods are told through the skilful use of hip hop, with the talented dancers performing their precision moves wearing trainers and not studded football boots!
But there were so many other qualities in Into The Hoods: Remixed which mirror The Blue Army’s season: the impressive talent and creativity on show, high-energy performances full of character, an abundance of feel good factor and the whole team behind the show overcoming adversity to deliver a thoroughly entertaining show which had the audience on their feet at the end.
Into The Hoods: Remixed is the newly revamped version of the award-winning production that stormed the West End in 2008. Under the direction of Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Kate Prince, the story follows two schoolchildren who get lost on the ‘Ruff Endz Estate’.
The vulnerable duo are tasked by the ever demanding landlord of ‘Beanstalk Towers’ with finding an iPhone as white as milk, trainers as pure as gold, a hoodie as red as blood and some weave as yellow as corn to give to his daughter, vivacious rapper Rap-on-Zel, for her 18th birthday.
During their quest they encounter larger-than-life characters living in the tower block including DJ Spinderella, aspiring singer Lil Red, Rap-on-Zel, budding music producer Jaxx and more menacing characters such as the wily Wolf, the manager of Big Teef Records who will stop at nothing to get Lil Red to sign his contract.
The audience are treated to an entertaining mix of dance genres - from lindy hop, jive and disco to ballet and contemporary - performed to a huge range of favourite hits from across the decades.
And there are plenty of comic scenes thrown in - including performances from the Ugly Sisters and a cleverly-acted retirement home scene to name just two.
The imaginative use of staging, lighting and graphics, with a ‘slo mo’ Matrix-esque fight sequence between Jaxx and the Giant being particularly memorable, added to the fun-filled performance.
Just as the show was about to reach its interval the company’s sound system blew, bringing it to a slightly premature end.
Despite the technical problem also affecting the projection and lighting for the second half, the ZooNation Dance Company production team and performers were determined not to disappoint the audience and managed to carry on using an iPod and speakers.
In truth the lack of visual aids only made you appreciate even more the skill and talent of the dancers as your focus was drawn even more to their raw energy and slick moves.
This is a fairytale which also has its darker moments but ultimately it has a happy ending, with love conquering all.
Among those warmly applauding the performers on the night I saw the show at The Curve was film star and TV actor Stephen Graham, of Ibstock, and family, with the This Is England and Snatch star taking to Twitter to express his delight.
He tweeted: “@ZooNationUK are smashing it tonight, incredible performances @CurveLeicester new school/old school classics!!!!”
So now its over to you City to follow suit and give the whole of Leicester yet another happy ending we’re all praying for.
ZooNation’s Into The Hoods: Remixed is definitely a must-see show which I’d love to see again and I’d be happy to travel to do so.
You can catch performances this month at the Lyceum in Sheffield, Brighton Dome and the Mayflower in Southampton. There will also be shows at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre and Manchester HOME next month before it moves on to the Peacock Theatre in Holborn, London, from May 4.
For more details visit www.zoonation.co.uk