Tag Archives: ZooNation

Review : The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Zoonation, Roundhouse/The Royal Opera House, By Hannah Goslin

Image result for mad hatters tea party zoonation

(4 / 5)

As the name says, the Roundhouse is a circular venue that is full of possibilities. My first visit here was many years ago for a concert, so to come back and see it full of staging, rostra seating and a world of possibility was a refreshing new view.

Perfect for such a story as The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Taken from the famous stories by Lewis Carrol that we all know and love, Zoonation have taken the narrative and slightly changed it to Wonderland being a safe haven for those who suffer a range of psychological disorders. This begins in an insane asylum, with an introduction to each character and their specific notabilities being explained to being more real and likely mental health issues. This I thought was a great way of bringing such a serious collection of issues and illnesses to the forefront of our mind and turning them into positives and acceptance with the dance and humour to lighten the story.

Of course, it is notable that Zoonation is a dance company and so it is right to make a conversation on their abilities. And of course, they were talented, skilled and flawless. To move from just dancing to acting through movement is extremely well done and practiced to perfection.

The costumes, set and use of the space is so inspiring and as flawless as the performance that I felt lost in the world in front of me and to a point forgot that I was there to critique, and instead just purely enjoyed it. The set, the lighting and the atmosphere was unique and interesting, humorous and enjoyable. The performers purely fantastic and the whole concept well thought out – throw in a live band whose repertoire ranged from soul to dance to acoustic, it complimented it well, leaving us wanting to join in the Tea Party.

Review Into The Hoods Remixed, Peacock Theatre, By Hannah Goslin

Into the Hoods Remixed

Zoonation

Peacock Theatre

06/05/16

(4 / 5)

Audio file of review 

Within current theatre, diversity is a huge conversation topic and issue in the industry.

When you hear ‘hip hop’, ‘street dance’ and ‘the hood’ our minds across the board think of stereotypical urban scenes, characters and storylines. ZooNation are a fantastic company – from difference in race, ability, gender, body types, the troupe of dancers range in all these aspects, and not to make a point but because they are talented, passionate and perfect for the roles.

It is refreshing to see that there is comedy played on the stereotypes that is thought of urban areas and ZooNation uses the ‘Into the Woods’ story to transform a once predominantly white European Grimm Fairy-tale–esque story into a modern and comical production.

As a former street dancer, I have noticed over the years the transformation of the industry. Coming from a popular era where street dance was fluid, to the past few years where popping and locking has become more common, ZooNation combine not only  choreography that you cannot take your eyes off, but they introduce contemporary dance, break dance, even 1920’s flapper moves. This with the combination of a range of music from the more hard core hip hop, to 70’s favourites, the company creates a clever illusion of this fantastical world.

It is usual that a play has one main character, or a performer who stands out. Into the Hoods Remixed makes this decision hard. The concept of the story line – a fairy-tale land where we meet all our favourite characters from Cinderella to Rapunzel [Or in this case, Spinderella and Rap-un-zel] the principal characters are abundant – and so are the performers. Not a single performer is unable to embody whatever character they are, and this is implemented through their dancing, never breaking character. This troupe not only compete for the limelight, forcing us to love them all for each individuality, but also show that as a team and a dance group, they connect well and play off one another with great skill.

The set itself is fantastic – well constructed visuals of tower blocks, cartoon characters running through the backdrop and minimalist prop and staging helps us to create the scene. In addition to this, the voice over narrator occasionally setting the scene and the performers brilliant execution, Into the Hoods Remixed does nothing but leave you astounded and with a huge grin on your face.