Into the Hoods: Remixed review at the Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells – ‘retains most of the original’s charm’
It’s almost ten years since Kate Prince created her first version of Into the Hoods, a hip hop show loosely based on Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods. Over the past decade it has grown via the Edinburgh Fringe into Remixed – a family-friendly West End event, with bigger sets and costumes, a more polished production, and, for this revival and tour, a younger generation of dancers. However, the central idea holds true to the original gem, which mixes working class urban street culture with fairy tale classics from the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault.
The two-hour show follows two school children getting lost on Ruff Endz Estate. After a series of challenges, they finally make their way home having met en route modern incarnations of fairy tale characters – Cinderella is Spinderella, an aspiring DJ; Little Red Riding Hood is Lil Red, a would-be singer; Jack and the Beanstalk is Jaxx, living in a basement; and Rapunzel is Rap-on-Zel, who has wonderfully long extensions. And the Fairy Godmother is Fairy Gee, a modern-day sprite who is both magic worker and down with the kids.
Set to a recorded track of hip hop excerpts, the ensemble cast uniformly give high-five performances. All are capable of street-wise spoof and hip hop finesse, but their overwhelming qualities are self confidence and good humour. The current, bigger-scale Remixed production perhaps lacks the indie charm of the original, and is possibly more a hip hop pantomime than subversive take on traditional fairy lore. However, it manages to both entertain and carry a narrative, something many doubted hip hop could sustain.
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