REVIEW: TALES OF THE TURNTABLE (Southbank Centre) ★★★★

ZooNation Youth Company’s new work Tales of the Turntable has its world premiere at Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre this August.

Commissioned by the Southbank Centre, the piece was written by Olivier Award nominated Carrie-Anne Ingrouille (choreographer for Six the Musical and resident choreographer on Hamilton). The music was mixed by DJ Walde and takes the audience on a musical tour of hip-hop, funk and soul through to disco, house and rap. Zoonation has brought together some of the best young hip-hop dancers in the UK with this energetic dance showcase.

Tales of the Turntable introduces us to Eric, a budding DJ, living with his elderly grandfather, George. George listens to records on his gramophone in the lounge while Eric mixes tunes on his turntables in his bedroom, plugged in to his headphones. Their shared love of music brings these men together as Eric realises that he has more in common with George than he thought when his grandfather reveals that his gramophone can do more than just play records, it can transport them back to the time the songs were written.

This premise allows the sixteen strong cast to perform a range of dances through twelve scenes and keep the wardrobe team busy with costumes including 1920s jazz clubs and 1980s hip hop as Eric and George explore musical history together.

The space in Queen Elizabeth Hall is well used, the set on stage is brightly lit and dancers appear from all sides as well as coming into the audience to dance in the aisles. The song choices work well and the young dancers’ energy carries the audience through the show; as you’d expect from Zoo Nation, the choreography is flawless.

This hour flies by with barely time to take a breath. The main story of Eric bonding with George doesn’t get in the way of these young dancers showing off their skills; this is definitely a feel good show that will send you off with a smile on your face.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Takis Zontiros

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