Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
My 6-year-old son is now a confirmed theatre lover thanks to The Hawth in Crawley. One of the best a thing about The Hawth is the diversity of the performers there and today we went to learn something we have never done before, and that was to beatbox. Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids was a show we hadn’t heard of but a quick Google search showed it sold out across the country which is always a good recommendation and we were not disappointed.
The Hawth itself is easy to get to and has plenty of free parking right outside, a well-stocked café, and easy access for the disabled so is one of our favourite theatres.
The show was held in the studio, a small intimate theatre, so after grabbing our free booster seat we took our seats near the centre, It’s a brilliant space for this sort of production as the audience can get really close. As we entered the foyer you could literally feel the excitement bubbling as it filled with children and their families waiting for the show to begin.
Shlomo turned into the superstar he is today purely by chance. Age 8 and desperate for a drum kit his parents brought him one but wouldn’t let him play it for fear of annoying the neighbours. As a less noisy way to practice he started using his voice as the different drum sounds and now he travels the world performing and teaching others.
After an engaging half an hour setting the scene, taking us back to 1980’s New York street parties he explained how when the batteries in the ghetto blaster ran out, how one unnamed person tried making music with his or her mouth in order to carry on the party. And there you have it, that’s was how beatboxing began.
I loved the way that Shlomo talks about beatboxing being a skill anyone can learn, it doesn’t matter where you are from, whether rich or poor, what colour skin you have, anyone can have a go. It’s the message I always try and portray to my son about choices in life but having someone on stage say it makes all the difference. Shlomo was superb with the children but equally had all the adults joining in and reminiscing about the start of hip hop and the ghetto blaster.
Shlomo is a brilliant teacher and taught us how to make the basic sounds P, K & T. Not sure I got them right but everybody was having a go, young or old the whole audience was trying it. Next, he showed us how to breathe whilst beatboxing, sounded easy but was pretty difficult.
Next it was volunteer time and two teams comprising a boy and a girl each were picked and shown how to beatbox into the microphone. There was then a competition between the two teams, culminating in a fairly obvious draw, it was so enjoyable to watch these children pick up confidence from Shlomo, he states its just 10% technique and 90% swagger, and he certainly got the teams feeling like they could do it.
The set ended with a demonstration of what you could do with just the three sounds he taught the audience. What can I say Shlomo was absolutely amazing, the first five minutes my son didn’t actually believe the sounds where coming out of his mouth, by the end he was in total awe of what can be done.
The performance lasted around an hour without an interval and was obvious throughout that the parents were having just as good a time as their children, this is not one of those shows where adults are desperately waiting for the end. Going home you and your whole family will be beatboxing their way across the car park and beyond. This show is just brilliant and so unusual, I will be talking about today’s performance for a long time. It’s suitable for children of all ages, so if you love music, you will love Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids.
Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit skshlomo.com.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636