Harry Bignell reviews Beats on Pointe at the Peacock Theatre.
Following a clunky introduction where the audience had to shout, “Your mic’s not working!” for the compare to realise we could not hear a word he was saying, Beats on Pointe explode onto the shabby chic stage of the Peacock Theatre with the energy of all of the eight-year old girls in the audience post ice-cream interval combined.
The opening number, a high paced dance off style performance which showcased pirouettes with pourri of adage alongside head spins and body pops, sets the pace for a show which effectively combines the elegance of ballet with the rhythm, style and energy of hip-hop.
Is the hip hop as seamless or dynamic as Diversity, or the ballet as elegant or effortless as the Royal Ballet? Of course not. Lack of polish notwithstanding, Beats on Pointe fill an engaging two hours with fantastic individual and group performances that inspire their young female audience members to practice their own dance routines in the interval.
Attempts at humour fall flat as the beat box-ing cast member gives a hammy vocal performance before launching into his number and the male ballet dancer minces around stage in a pink tutu blowing kisses. Thankfully, however, these attempts are swiftly abandoned and the company get back to doing what they do best – dancing.
Individual performances shine through even in the group numbers as Oriana Siew-Kim and Taylor Diamond-Lord form a power duo that it is hard to tear your eyes from. The depth in the company is fantastic as each performer is given the space to shine. Never is this more obvious than in the moments where Brodie Chesher drops the camp-y male ballerina act and takes front and centre in the ballet numbers. Strong, elegant and commanding on stage, Chesher made some of my favourite moments, topping even the hip hop numbers that had more tumbling than a circus act.
During some numbers the company rely on gimmicks that fall flat; light up shoes which obscure the dancers, fairy lights on tutus which come unattached and whip around the stage disconcertingly as the dancers pirouette and a routine with torches that intermittently burns the retinas as various members get their angles a little off. As with the comedy, these moments would be best left out entirely to allow the audience to concentrate on what they really came for; a high energy, dynamic dance show set to a fantastic mashup soundtrack.
This show may still be a diamond in the rough but it is well worth the time. Clever choreography, beautiful dancing and a soundtrack which had me tapping my toes for the rest of the evening; Beats on Pointe had me from Earth, Wind and Fire.