This hip-hop adaptation of Shakespeare’s best known comedy
comes courtesy of Susie McKenna, creative director of Hackney Empire and the
Hackney Harlem Theatre Company, a troop of emerging artists between the ages of
16 and 21.
The young company shows great spirit, maintaining soaring
energy levels throughout the performance, whether dancing, singing or rapping.
Some members of the cast are not entirely comfortable in their speaking roles,
but the other talents on offer make up for oratorical deficiencies.
This production feels muddled stylistically: scenes of
straight acting are followed by cheesy RnB interludes and interspersed with
pantomime-style clowning. These moments all have their individual strengths,
but as a whole the show lacks coherence. Furthermore, the updating, bizarrely enough to the year
2068 , is piecemeal and tokenistic.
All that said, however, McKenna should be commended for
opening up this play and creating a vibrant production that will leave you smiling.