Saturday, March 15, 2008

The weekend's here and it turns out that I've got way too many things to blog about. First off, there's the Underworld gig at the Roundhouse which I caught just before flying back home (which was just absolutely spectacular, both visually and musically speaking), the DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist Hard Sell at the Roundhouse (March 13, 2008) and the general happiness that the weekend's finally here, even though I still have some work to catch up on.

The focus of this post, however, will be on Insane in the Brain, a street dance interpretation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (OFOTCN) by Swedish dance group, Bounce. That's right. You read correctly.

After having gone to see Apoohcalypse Now without having watched the movie, I guess it kicked off a trend of my going to see modern interpretations of classic shows. I wasn't too sure what OFOTCN was about other than the fact that it starred Jack Nicholson and was set in a mental asylum, but I caught Bounce's first show in London back in 2001 (also at the Roundhouse) and was swept away by their talent and energy, so figured, if nothing else, it would be good entertainment.

In a word, the show was awesome. The opening sequence, where the crew dance, dressed all in black, with white masks on their heads, was both scary and mind-blowing. Their use of props and lighting suited the dance immensely, and the choreography - incredible. As they were doing the whole two-faced thing (i.e. masks on both sides of their heads), it was difficult to tell exactly when we were looking at their fronts and when we were looking at their backs. Their moves were that good.

Another dance sequence I loved was the one where we see four members of the crew, representing the four incumbent patients of the asylum, dancing on their beds. Again, the choreography was brilliant, and the use of lighting, very innovative. I loved the scene when the whole stage lit up, and we saw all four members in different poses, and realised that they were all set at different heights, to simulate a slow-motion jump. Not easy to do, given that each dancer needed to do everything on time and sharply, a quality I sorely lack every time I go to a street dance class.

And it wasn't just all stage dancing the group did; in one scene, when the gang escapes from the asylum, they end up going to a cinema (very unexpectedly and hilariously coming into the audience and taking up a row of seats and throwing popcorn at unsuspecting members of the audience), they take the opportunity to show a silent movie set in the Victorian era entitled Tramptown, which has the usual hijinks involved in every Charlie Chaplin show you'd ever see, coupled with street dance. When the proceedings get interrupted by reality - Nurse Ratched and the rest of her crew catch up to the patients in the cinema - I hardly expected the film to continue, but once the confrontation was over, and the patients herded back to the asylum, the actual audience got to watch the rest of the show. It was hilarious to watch a lady all dressed up in her Victorian finery get down and battle with the thieves in her home... street dance style! It's not a scene I'll be likely to forget for a while, and for those of you who know me, I apologise if I start getting all aggro and frontin' next time I'm in the club with you.

Another unforgettable moment... well, if you go see the show, let's just say you'll never look at Lionel Richie - Hello the same way again.

The soundtrack was varied, with songs from artists ranging from Mr. Oizo, the Gotan Project, System of a Down, the Panjabi MCs and Michael Sembello. I know it looks rather odd all typed out like that, but trust me, it's all excellent entertainment with top-notch dancing and great use of the various elements of a staged show.

A quick browse of the programme after the show revealed that Nurse Ratched, the sadistic nurse who runs the asylum, is a great lover of ballet, while break dance is used by the patients as a means of expressing their desire for freedom.

The show is currently running at the Peacock Theatre with its last show being tomorrow at 4 pm. If you don't have anything planned this weekend, I would highly recommend that you go catch this show. You most definitely will not regret it.

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