Stratford East’s Theatre Royal could very well lay claim to being one of the hippest theatres in the capital and it is certainly hopping right now with Pied Piper, a hip-hop narrative dance extravaganza that is deservedly summonsing a huge following to the East End.
An enterprise born in the community itself, when choreographer Kenrick Sandy and musical director Michael Asante started running dance classes for children who would otherwise not have had access to this kind of dance training, in five short years they have not only trained over 500 performers, but are also now making that work public via this electrifying explosion of movement and music.
Though loosely based on the famous morality tale, the dramatic arc is only dimly discernable, but as the dancers bounce off the walls and each other in somersaulting shapes and galvanising, kinetic, strobe-lit force, the piece acquires a life that is uniquely its own. Set in a desolate urban landscape, with the walls plastered in graffiti and piles of garbage, the uplift is provided in the thrilling energy of the performers.
Having broken new ground for the possibilities of musical theatre with Da Boyz and The Big Life, Stratford East continue to push the envelope of the future with a show that has a far more authentic street feeling than the current West End attempt to do something similar in Daddy Cool.