Skip to main content

Review of Streets Ahead Dance Academy's Don't Stop The Beat at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

A Small Mind was fully busting his hip hop moves at the Royal & Derngate last night. However thankfully is was all in his head rather than some kind of fit on the stage of the Derngate.

Thankfully for the audience for Streets Ahead's Don't Stop The Beat! the dancing was much more impressive on stage. Predominantly hip hop, but with elements of contemporary and tap, it all provided a quite breathless night of entertainment.

Breathless must indeed have been perfect summing up for the performers, especially the much older advanced group of dances, as they were hardly off stage during the near three hour show. Indeed courtesy of some dramatic quick changing that must have been going on behind stage, they occasionally ran off one side and with a brief period of darkness returned from the other side wearing something else and straight back into the next routine.

Routines covered a multitude of songs, although personally many of them to music that only serves its existence for hip hop dancing to. Swerving from what rather alarmingly sounded like explicit rap to Let It Go from Frozen could only be expressed as surprising. However when music and dance on the bill includes Thriller and The Little Shop Of Horrors, I offer little complaint.

Thriller was an absolutely great performance from some of the younger dancers and offered the unique chance to see one of the young lady zombies brush her hair back into place while pretending to be a zombie. You would never get that on The Walking Dead. As for Little Shop, a similar aged group all dressed as Seymour and one plant, short straw there, was great fun. We had other film tunes including a band of Minions and a crowd favourite Ice Age number.

The older performers were of course technically superior, however that is the wonder of these shows and those of the NMPAT ones, that you can see the evolution of the performers as long as they stick with it. There was as always a huge lean towards female performers over male, so much so that of the advanced group, the only male performer was Edward. He did however have to constantly be in the presence of young ladies, so its odd that there is not more interest in joining these groups. One day soon maybe it will be cool to dance again, well, as long as you have talent and are not a gangling mess of limbs.

Other rountines included a cool Chicago number, as well as the required Don't Stop The Beat number from Hairspray, splendidly featuring the aforementioned Edward gamely in a dress. I also loved the poignant number dedicated to the mothers of the performers. Thankfully there was not a father one or my invented child would have been exposed as being a figment of my imagination. Referring to this, it is a great shame that it always seems rather obvious at these shows that it is really a near total percentage of family and friends in the audience as these fun shows deserve to be seen by a wider audience.

My only reservation from the show was the awkward, pointless and really rather preachy singing part. I never really like seeing children being effectively used to prove a political point and it was technically poor as well, so it all felt rather hollow. More dance should have been of the order.

Thankfully in acts like the Fun Dance School one, the kids were allowed to be kids and have fun, with one young lady stealing the show in particular by either not wanting to dance or possibly just overcome by the whole situation.

Don't Stop The Beat was an excellent full night of entertainment which offered little to criticise other than the absolute devastation that the audience left in their wake. Come on guys, when did it become socially acceptable to leave so much litter behind at the theatre? However great show, very well supported and if you get the chance in the future, do go to see something of its ilk.

Performance reviewed: Monday 15th February, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

Don't Stop The Beat was a one of event organised by Streets Ahead Dance Academy. For further details see their website at http://streetzahead.com/

Details of Royal & Derngate can be found by visiting their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Railway Children at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

This touring production of the very classic E. Nesbit tale The Railway Children adapted by Dave Simpson and directed by Paul Jepson delivers perhaps everything that someone familiar with the original tale would desire.

Yes, in this modern age we are treated to the more flashy projection images which while a little unexciting at times (and occasionally diluted in clarity by the other stage lights) provide a pleasing background nonetheless.

This production of The Railway Children though is still very much of its time, nothing exciting really happens, other than some petticots being removed infront of a train, that we of course know is going to stop, even if we don't know the story. It's all very safe, and perhaps that is why it appears the modern audience has less interest in it judging by the shockingly small audience on opening night.

However, those not there are missing out on just a really lovely piece of gentle theatre, that while not without its faults, holds the interest…

Review of Rules For Living at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It is possibly a rule in life for a few in the audience for the opening night of Sam Holcroft's domestic comedy Rules For Living not to mention Christmas until December. Therefore anyone of such a persuasion might have been a little perturbed to be presented on the 13th September with, an undeniably brilliantly dressed, homely Christmas scene.

Opening up in glorious dollhouse style and on a gorgeous little hinge, this little home of living room and kitchen sets the scene for a typical family Christmas. Mother Edith (Jane Booker) welcomes her sons, Matthew (Jolyon Coy) and Adam (Ed Hughes) and their respective partners, Carrie (Carlyss Peer) and Nicole (Laura Rogers) And with a final dramatic arrival of father Francis (Paul Shelley), the scene is very much set for comic antics of the highest calibre.

The first thing you get from Rules For Living in the first few minutes is the arrival of one of the most brilliant, yet simple concepts I have seen for a while in the play. These are …

Review of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There have been a couple of television versions of the Mapp & Lucia novels by E. F. Benson over the years and irrespective of which generation version you might have seen, the roles of Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas were filled with some heavyweight performers. So taking on these roles could, in theory, be a challenge too much to live up to. However, that would be if the characters themselves were less the sum of the performer. These are great characters on paper as well as on stage and therefore Gena McCrystal (Miss Mapp) and Juliet O'Connor (Lucia) make them very much their own in the stage adaption by John Van Druten.

Lucia has arrived and breezed both into the town of Tilling and the musical chair roundabout of house rental that is want to occur here. Her rented property is Miss Mapp's and for some reason, Mapp fails to follow the routine of keeping away, constantly "popping in", so the battle lines are drawn.
Make Way for Lucia is the typical battle of supremacy i…