Review: Boy Blue presents Blak Whyte Gray “This show is about breaking free from a system not working for you”

The dance company are providing a unique sense of hope and escapism through tumultuous times

Given the news cycle of the last few days, it has been hard to switch off, mentally.

And this is where theatre and the arts can lift and galvanise audiences and provide them with hope.

Whether it is through the comedy of JB Shorts at 53two which pokes fun at what has been happening in No: 10, even before Liz Truss left, leaving Larry the cat doing his usual eye roll.

The escapism can also be provided through the power of movement and fantastic choreography in plays without words, which are never short of emotional content.

Boy Blue are one such dance company and they contributed to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, as well as wowing audiences at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, the Barbican and HOME.

I caught one of their shows five years ago and it has never left my memory, as it felt urgent, at times angry, beautiful and incredibly powerful.

They are back and as soon as you sit down and see the first meticulously smooth move, you are aware that this is a show about breaking free from a system that is not working for you. The sense of empowerment that the dancers create is completely exhilarating.

They glide across the stage, they march, punch the air and at times look as if they are in an army with The Woman King herself, Viola Davis.

Everything in this incredible show is in synch. From the stunning lighting which is incredibly cinematic, putting a spotlight on these athletic bodies which contort and move in a way which fuses ballet, circus skills and hip hop, through to the music which builds like a heartbeat during a relay race.

We go from a show of defiance, which through dynamic dexterity within the dance-moves highlight the power of people as a collective. In an age where some are some are scared to march and protest and others are complacent and would much rather fill out endless petitions, or sit still and simply sigh – this reminds everyone that we do not have to sit still and think that everything is out of your control.

Supremely talented dancers show a huge variety of skills, from robotic moves to something completely fluid. And it takes your breath away and leaves you in awe.

Politics, gender, race and the feeling that the global majority is standing up and demanding to be counted, respected and included, means you are left with a dance show which begs to be seen.

The ultra violet make up on the dancers bodies and faces celebrates culture, roots and you are watching an uprising, an awakening and you want to be part of it.

There is power on display here in every sense of the word. As the music rumbles through your body, the dancers bring you with them through this exploration of the flip side of the UK.

Forget the things you don’t like, the division and hatred and boxes that people put you into. And sit back and celebrate the majesty of Blak Whyte Grey.

As the dancers pause for a breath, a young person near me shouts out: “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” I smile, as I realise that Boy Blue have connected audience members, as we all agree with this sentiment and then some.

Boy Blue presents Blak Whyte Grey at until 22nd October and can be booked here.


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