‘This is a hip hop show. We need you to MAKE SOME NOISE!’
Cue ecstatic whoops, buckshots and feverish clapping. We were at the Peacock Theatre in the West End, but the vibe was leaning towards that of a rap show, albeit with a crowd ranging from young kids to grandparents. And by the end, boy did we raise the roof!
If you go Into the Hoods today, you’re in for 2 hours of back-busting moves and heart-bursting joy. I mean proper ‘grab a stranger and kumbaya’ moments.
It didn’t matter that I spent a good 80 percent of the show grinning like a maniac while ‘cabbage patching’ in my seat — a) my kids are still young enough to find their mum’s dancing cool, as opposed to embarrassing and b) they were too hooked on the action on stage to notice anything else.
Into the Hoods Remixed, a hip hop remake of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, is the tale of two school kids trying to find their way home after getting lost in the ‘hood. Along their path, they come across the colourful cast of Ruff Endz Estate and its main block, Beanstalk Towers. There’s Rap-on-Zel with her long, golden weave; Spinderella, who lives to DJ; Prince, the local charmster; Jaxx (who will have to ‘slay’ a Giant); Lil Red, the songstress; and big baddie Wolf, a record company exec, whose music contract comes with floor-length small print.
All their stories weave in and out of each other in a series of brilliantly choreographed set pieces. The Zoo Nation crew show off crazy skills in almost any type of dancing: from b-boying, popping and krumping, to swing and jitterbug.
Everything from fight sequences to love scenes is seamlessly put together under the loving guidance of Zoo Nation’s artistic director Kate Prince. Into the Hoods Remixed updates the award-winning 2006 production, Into the Hoods, one of the longest running West End dance shows in history.
After follow-up hits like Groove on Down the Road and Some Like it Hip Hop, Into the Hoods Remixed boasts fresh choreography, songs and dancers.
The soundtrack, blending hip hop and R&B from the ‘80s through the noughties, took me right back to my clubbing days. We were all up and grooving by the end. I also had a little tear in my eye.
Zoo Nation get me emotional because their performances go right to the heart of what I love about hip hop: the insane energy, creativity, goofiness, raw power and poetry. After every show, I’m left feeling like I would follow these guys to the ends of the earth. And, by Hova, I’ll follow them dancing.
Jed (age 6)
‘Into the Hoods is about two children who meet Wolf the bad guy and he gives them a task to find gold Nike trainers, a red hoodie, a white iPhone and gold hair. My best bit was when the Prince was dancing side to side really quickly, it was funny! I thought the dancing was really good and I liked all the dancers the same. 4 out of 5 stars!’
Ezra (age 9)
‘I liked Into the Hoods because it had loads of characters from different fairytales living in an estate. There was lots of cool dancing including back flips and front flips! It was funny when Jaxx and the Giant were fighting over the phone and it was like they were in a video game. The music was really good too. I would recommend the show to most of my friends, but maybe not all as it might be a bit too mature for them (Mum: …!). I’d rate it 5 out of 5 stars, although my favourite is still Groove on Down the Road. Would I go to another Zoo Nation show? Yes!’
Into the Hoods Remixed at Sadler’s Wells, Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT (Holborn tube). For ages 5+ (younger ones will not be admitted). 7.30pm (Tue-Sat), 2.30pm (Sat), 2pm & 6pm (Sun), no show on Wed 4 Nov; £15-£38/under 16s half price (until Nov 14)