Hive City Legacy is a show that challenges all stereotypes of what it means to be a woman of colour and celebrates culture. This multi-talented cast and crew creates a show that defies all the rules and breaks boundaries like you have never seen before. With a collaboration of dance, music and acrobatics, Hive City Legacy teaches the value of “activation, pollination, liberation and everything in between”.
The energy of this show is unbelievable, and you cannot help but smile when you walk into the room and when you walk back out again. With a vibe that immediately feels welcoming with cheers and clapping and shouting, you instantly feel included in this space, no matter who you are or where you are from. No one is isolated in that room and no one is subject to negativity. Positive energy grew in that space over the course of the show and that is something that every show, whether in the West End, off-West End or even a school production, should take from this show.
The choreography (by Yami Löfvenberg and company) of this show is both powerful and incredible. From hardcore hip-hop sequences full of power to acrobatic dancing on a rope in the middle of the room filled with vulnerability and emotion, the choreography is flawless and captivating. Each moment tells a story that every woman and man should feel a connection to. The movements are expressive and beautiful and there is a strong sense of unity when you watch this piece, and I strongly urge everybody to see this piece. Each performer on that stage has their own, individual story to tell and each has their own characteristics which make them unique…which is how it should be. Nobody should ‘be like’ anyone else.
Some big themes in this show are racial identity and the idea of cultural appropriation. Hive City Legacy gives us a strong sense of what that feels like to be a so-called ‘minority group’ from the inside. Now, I personally do not feel there should be minority groups though, apparently, there always will be. And without getting to political, this piece teaches audiences the value of cultural integration…total cultural integration. This piece very much suggests (and many people agreed in the audience!) that to be a minority or a victim of cultural appropriation is to be downgraded and stared at by society. You become subject to scrutiny and negativity and you are downgraded to a bit of fun. And certain scenes are hard to watch, which is good for a show like this because it makes the point all the more clear and valid.
A scene that massively took me by surprise includes an exceedingly large amount of profanity verbally thrown around the space. Think of all the horrible names that people of colour have received over the years…the ‘N’ word was even thrown out there. The scene then proceeds with the mimicking of beatings in the street and the flashing of lights (by lighting designer Jessica Hung Han Yun) gives it a sinister feel. What proceeds is a distorted dance piece which expresses the pain and emotional turmoil attached with moments like that. Although this is ‘acting’, real people have been through these situations in real life. It happens every day, but Hive City Legacy teaches the value of being brave, standing up and putting a middle finger up to the people that dare to try and bring you down. Go on!
Even the finer details of this show, like the costume design (by Sabrina Henry) and simplistic set design (Emily Harwood) add to the thrilling experience of this show but, at the end of the day, it is these femmes of colour that take the audience by storm and give us a performance of power and unity that you will never be forgotten. But why?
Because this show stands out.
That is all I can say. It stands out and opens up so many discussions that need to be had. Theatre and art is supposed to open up discussions on difficult topics and this show does that. You do not find many femmes of colour on stage and while this is changing, it is not changing fast enough.
The cast and crew of this show have something really special. Young children will look up to this performance because it teaches the value of unity and bravery and the importance of community and kindness. This show is a rare gem and with any luck, it will go very far.
Take a page from this show’s book: do not take crap from anyone. Ever. Be brave and stand up for what you believe in.
Now, I would like you to finish this review in the same way the show did…DANCE PARTY!
Hive City Legacy is playing at Roundhouse Theatre, Camden until 21 July 2018
Photo: Helen Murray