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Cyberjam

By • West End
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If you want to see saxophonists and trumpeters playing their instruments while leaping on and off mini trampolines, Cyberjam is the show for you. Quite why anyone needs to see that, or musicians suspended mid-air in transparent baubles, is another question. This extremely polished but entirely pointless exercise in jazz muzak-making is quite accomplished in its way, but always bizarre, too, like a psychedelic dreamscape conjured by someone who's been on too many hard drugs.

But then the eager, energetic 36-strong cast of attractive young musicians and dancers (the latter strangely billed in the programme as "visual ensemble") look far too wholesome to have been near anything stronger than aspirin. You might, however, consider keeping a pack handy yourself, should the cacophony sometimes threaten to give you a headache. You might also want to pack sunglasses for protection against the frequently blinding stage lights, and earplugs against the din of the drums.

But if preparing for this show feels a bit like going on holiday and its origins seem quite trippy, it doesn't go on much of a journey, though a programme note insists - without apparent irony - that it does: "Cyberjam takes you on a journey through shape using three of the primary shapes that define our known universe. The circle, the square and the triangle. Expressed through the representational sound of the instruments, Cyberjam expands the boundaries of what these familiar shapes have meant to our perception."

I'm glad that's clear, then. But like those meaningless sentiments, it's entirely lacking in humour - intentional or otherwise - and a little of all of this goes a long way. Like "artistic director" (his title, not mine) James Mason's previous creation Blast!, this all-American show comes from a brass marching band and cheerleading tradition of baton throwing that might make an interesting curtain-raiser to a baseball game or theme park show, but doesn't stretch comfortably across two hours of theatre time.

Despite a score that stretches eclectically from jazz greats like Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis to an arrangement of Freddie Mercury's Bohemian Rhapsody (making this show the second in London to feature the song, since it's also inevitably the curtain call number to We Will Rock You), the result is ultimately more numbingly relentless than truly entertaining.

- Mark Shenton


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