Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Hippity Hop review at Artsdepot, London – ‘an energetic production’

Oli ‘Solocypher’ Polidore Perrins and Katherine Vernez Gray in Hippity Hop at Artsdepot, London. Photo: Suzi Corker Oli ‘Solocypher’ Polidore Perrins and Katherine Vernez Gray in Hippity Hop at Artsdepot, London. Photo: Suzi Corker

No one does scene-setting for young audiences better than Oily Cart. Rather than just taking their seats, audience members at Hippity Hop are greeted by the cast in a sort of theatrical holding area, offered a taste of what’s to come – as well as a fetching cap of their choice – and then led into the auditorium for the start of the show proper.

Oily Cart is brilliant at making its audience feel comfortable and this show, a revival of a production originally created for the Lyric Hammersmith back in 2004, does exactly that.

Patrick Lynch’s energetic production tells the story of Lady K (Katherine Vernez Gray) and Solocypher’s (Oli Polidore Perrins) mission to reunite a lost baby with its mother, by way of various colourful shopkeepers played by Vernez Gray and Polidore Perrins in turn. Music, as the title of the show suggests, is central from the start, with the actors rapping along to a score composed by hip hop artist Breis, Kadialy Kouyate – who sings and plays kora live – and Richard Edwards.

The beats are good enough to make both youngsters and parents want to dance as they make their way around designer Marcello Chiarenza’s circular promenade playing space, and the lyrics are simple and clear yet enjoyably knowing. Kouyate’s kora and sweet voice get somewhat lost in the mix, however – a bizarre missed opportunity for a company that usually does live music so well.

Audience interaction is pitched more towards the upper end of the 2-5 year-old recommended age range for the show, but younger ones will enjoy the show’s sensory elements, from touchable fabrics to smellable scents.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
A fun introduction to street culture, from hip hop to graffiti, from trusted children’s theatre company Oily Cart