Reviewed by Joanne Hughes
Yesterday evening, my friend and I went along to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton to see ZooNation’s new production ‘Some Like It Hip-Hop’. Having seen one of their productions a couple of years ago and having absolutely loved it, I was very excited to be going to see them again.
‘Some Like It Hip-Hop’ tells a story of a city ruled by a governor who was once a great and generous ruler, but something changes and his heart turns cold, transforming into a dark person. In a compelling and dramatic scene, he blots out the sun, bringing darkness to his realm. In his bid to protect his people from the pain that he has endured, he rules that books are to be banished or burned, that no man shall live with a woman, and that there definitely was to be no love. It was deemed that ‘woman should be seen and not heard’. When the women create an uprising, two are thrown out of the city. Realising their only chance to return to the city is to disguise themselves as men, they embark on a journey of navigating themselves within the ‘man’s world’, where they then fall in love and change the lives of those around them, eventually bringing the light back into the governor’s life – all in a powerful mix of dance, singing and storytelling.
This show was exactly what I expected from ZooNation – every dance routine was foot perfect and full of great energy, and the show included upbeat music from the classics, ‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘Mad Men’, together with outstanding singing. I found the show funny and emotional, and felt drawn into the characters due to the excellent ability of the cast to tell a story in such a clear and emotional way – an art that ZooNation have well and truly mastered unlike any other theatre show that I’ve seen before. One highlight moment, is when the governor is angry and the superb lighting crew create a huge impressive shadow behind the governor, giving the impression he is much taller and fiercer. The stage itself was impressive as well, with swift effortless set changes of furniture to befit the correct time period – all executed so that you barely noticed.
ZooNation was founded by Kate Prince in 2002 creating full-length dance productions that gave backing dancers a chance to perform as the main characters and their talents not getting lost in the background of other performers. The company offers great opportunities with work placements and shadowing opportunities, which I think make this company very unique.
We had a great evening at the iconic Mayflower Theatre. Parking was a five minute walk away with a flat rate of £2 for the evening and, as always, I found the staff at the Mayflower very polite and helpful. My friend and I had fantastic seats near the stage in the stalls, affording us a great view of the show. We absolutely loved the show, particularly at the end when everyone was encouraged to get up and dance along with the narrator – this was great fun.
ZooNation are currently touring with their new production ‘Some Like It Hip Hop’, and I believe they will be travelling to Birmingham and London next. I would definitely recommend this show as a great night out – you won’t be disappointed.
ZooNation are currently on tour with Some Like It Hip Hop, for more information and tour dates visit zoonation.co.uk.
For other shows at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811