Vitamin Noir featuring Kay Greyson & Northern Roots:
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Until Saturday 10 September 2022
What they say “Hip-Hop dance theatre told with infectious joy and mischievous smiles.
Brotherhood is a new show highlighting the unknown struggles of young Black men living in the UK. Originally from Africa and the Caribbean, this all-Black cast of multi-talented long time friends will share their origin stories of perseverance through dance and music.”
In a short (usually 45 minutes) but perfectly formed piece of work, the audience is taken on a journey about freedom, friendship and fitting in. Brotherhood worked as a piece of theatre as it involves the audience. You are left challenged by the situation and invited to take part if you want.
Of course Alphabetti theatre is perfectly placed to host such a performance thanks to its’ intimate surroundings. As you are up close and personal with the action it is difficult to escape.
The show starts with some pounding music and flashing imagery of the title on the back wall. This is followed by a short video excerpts of recent racist incidents. I say recent, some of the action goes back 50 or more years and shows that the situation people of colour currently find themselves in within our community has not improved in that time.
Kay Grayson appears and informs the audience that she cannot dance but she is the best person to tell this story. Kay is extremely versatile at creating spoken word pieces which cleverly bridge the potential divide between poetry and rap lyrics. A group of 4 dancers then deliver a simple but powerful message. Unlike some dance shows there is dialogue, which helps illustrate what on earth is going on. (I have to admit that sometimes with dance show I don’t always know what is going on - and this isn't the case this particular production). The sense of family and community from the group of four is empowering. It is easy to recognise the journey from being an outsider to one of acceptance within a group.
The dancing is energetic and fits with the hip hop style of the accompanying music.
The simplicity of the production is something of a master stroke; the clarity the message impresses upon the audience the need for all of us to fit in.
Not everything in this production went to plan. Some of the lighting didn't work at one point and I was left thinking that it was quite clever how they'd used limited lighting during a particularly powerful scene. Apparently somebody had kicked a wire out as they walked in. We were asked to leave the room whilst to reset the lighting and then restart the performance from Kay’s initial monologue. Upon having full lighting it's clear that we had actually missed quite a bit of the intricate nature of the dancing. Perhaps with hindsight it wasn't appropriate for the low light that had happened by accident after all and it was much better when it was fixed. These things happen but never mind we were given a treat of an extended performance.
Personally I really enjoyed this show you left with a smile on my face. new sentence
Review: Stephen Oliver.
Cast & Creatives:
Devisors, Composer & Performers:
Kay Greyson, Hashim Kani, Blessing Mpofu, Marshal Siziba, Igor Tavares & Abdullah Oshinusi
Writer and Director Kay Greyson
Stage Manager Wilf Stone
Sound Designer Rob Green
Lighting & Projection Designer John Rainsforth
Costume Designer Naomi Daley
Producer Eilis McGowan
Movement Mentor Alicia Meehan
Musical Mentor April Olatunji
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