Taking a bee hive as a symbol for femme empowerment provides scope for plenty of buzz words: Hive City Legacy pollinates the seeds of revolution, has a sharp sting, and is full of absolute queens.
Nine artists were selected from 250 applicants by Lisa Fa’alafi, and Busty Beatz of Australian political-performance collaborative Hot Brown Honey. Working alongside hip hop artist Yami Lofvenberg, they took part in a paid training programme culminating in this explosion of talent at the Roundhouse
The Hive brings together the artists’ diverse skills in spoken word, circus, dance, comedy and music. Every element of the production is created by women of colour. This includes Sabrina Henry’s costumes, her layers of prints and styles reflecting each performer’s personality like some bad-ass version of the Spice Girls.
The show explores intersectional black femme identity through a political and distinctly London lens. Through intense but often funny performances, the homogenization of black women’s experience is interrogated. There is standout work from Farrell Cox and Rebecca Solomon whose corde lisse routine tells a full story, creating beautiful shapes in limited space. In the dance numbers, your eye is repeatedly drawn to Shakaiah Perez – if bees use to dance to communicate then her movements demand that you listen.
The power of each individual means the hive don’t always come together smoothly and the skits between acts feel messy and superfluous. There is tightening to be done but when the league of extraordinary women proclaims; “It starts with us”, it has real power.