If the name doesn’t give it away, Into The Hoods: Remixed is based on Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods. Many people know the plot of the original show from the 2014 film, so here is the updated plot: two children (Tyreese Remy-Henderson and Jenai Mason-Smith) find themselves lost on the Ruff Endz Estate. The landlord (Andry Oporia) tells the kids that if they help him find some gifts for his daughter, Rap-on-zel (Jade Hackett) before her 18th birthday, he’ll give them some money for the bus fare home. The kids begin their quest to “find an iPhone as white as milk, a hoodie as red as blood, a weave as yellow as corn, and trainers as pure as gold”.
ZooNation Dance Company was created by dancers who were frustrated with only being back-up dancers and wanted to be recognised as performers in their own right. While Into The Woods is quite a slow-paced musical with a second half that many people deem unnecessary, Into The Hoods: Remixed is a fast-paced, energetic street dance show that knows where to end its story.
Kate Prince, writer, director and founder of ZooNation, finds a way to reinvent all the classic fairytale characters – the most inventive and unexpected being the relationship between Lil Red (Natasha Gooden), a wannabe singer, and Jaxx (Corey Culverwell), who writes his own music. Lil Red must choose between her career and love life and Jaxx will do anything to get his hands on some money to pay the rent. This is just one of several storylines that make the tales relatable in the modern world.
Although the show is presented as a hip-hop dance comedy, the cast experiment with other dance genres too: Prince’s (Daryl Baker) party has some good old-fashioned Charleston and music producer Wolf (Duwane Taylor) waltzes his way through a contract with Lil Red. Regardless of the genre they are dancing, the outstanding choreography allows each member of the cast to showcase their strengths.
At the end of the show we get a ‘five years later’ epilogue where the fates of the residents are revealed. While this is the perfect happy ending we all look for in our fairytales, I was left wondering one thing: we all know the version of Little Red Riding Hood where the huntsman cuts the grandma and Little Red out of the wolf’s stomach. Yet this show leaves the grandma’s fate unclear. What did Wolf do with Lil Red’s grandma?
The show is presented as good family fun. But there are a few moments that left me questioning whether it is a bit adult for the young audience, or whether the darker moments just went straight over their heads.
The show is energetic and fun and left me wondering if it’s too late to take up street dance.
Into The Hoods: Remixed plays at the Peacock Theatre until 21 May. For more information and tickets, see the Sadler’s Wells website.