★★★★ | In The Hoods: Remixed

Two children are lost on the Ruff Endz Estate and in exchange for a bus ticket home; they agree to help The Landlord, who sends them out on a quest to find the gifts he wants to give his daughter for her 18th birthday.

Their search, to find an iPhone as white as milk, a hoodie as red as blood, weave as yellow as corn and trainers as pure as gold, leads them on an adventure with the residents of Beanstalk Towers. Spinderella, wants to DJ at the ball, Lil Red has just signed a recording deal with Wolf, of Big Teef Records, Jaxx lives in the basement and is trying to avoid eviction and Rap-en-Zel will do anything to escape her room.

In this hip-hop, street-dance fairy-tale, the story is little more than an excuse for some spectacular choreography, made up of routines laced with humour and character. There are some superb set pieces, nowhere more evident than in the 70’s style afro-tastic party of the local gangster and the explosion of break-dancing pensioners in Grandma’s retirement home.

Borrowing from the familiar fairy-tale stories which are re-written for the hip-hop generation, the show is incredibly well presented, made up of superb animated backdrop projections, clever lighting and simple division of the four intertwining stories by use of colour and character. The routines provide for clearly defined and detailed characters that come across solely by the use of dance and music; and Kate Prince’s confident direction is effective in conveying the narrative and bringing out the best in the ridiculously talented cast.

Based loosely on the Stephen Sondheim musical, of a similar name, Into the Hoods: Remixed is a streetwise, mash up of music with a smart, sassy and humorous personality performed by a slick, polished and disciplined cast. With its use of snippets of a variety of songs from different genres and styles to tell the story, it has a hint of “Moulin Rouge” about it and an energy which falls somewhere between relentless and jaw dropping. Into The Hoods is both impressive and great fun, and you cannot help but be swept up by this very entertaining and vivacious production.

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Into the Hoods is currently on national tour until the 9th April 2016. Full details can be found on the show’s website at www.intothehoodsremixed.co.uk .

Into the Hoods: Remixed was reviewed at Sheffield Theatres , who have recently launched their new season, which includes No Man’s Land starring Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

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About the author: Paul Szabo
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.