FrontX (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Minh

Uplifting cross-artform collaboration

This heartfelt show directed by Belgian breakdance champion Milan Emmanuel is an immersive blend of live art, hip hop, mime and classical singing. Six international artists – all of whom Emmanuel met while working as a street performer – weave their stories together to create an empowering tale that celebrates resilience and a passion for performance.

We are introduced to Micael, a talented b-boy who moved to Belgium from the Ivory Coast as a teenager; Slowmotion Phax, who was part of the first generation of hip hop artists in France in the 1970s; Kosovan burlesque dancer Hello Shelly, who confronts ideas of femininity through pole dancing and Thai boxing; and Iranian-Australian Roya the Destroya, a brilliant dancer and actress who was born with one leg.

Their movements are soundtracked by Walloon singer Aurélie Castin, whose style spans opera to jazz and R&B, and Big Ben, who has twice been crowned Belgium's Champion of Beatboxing. It's their musical offerings that really elevate the show; Big Ben's beatboxing in particular is seriously impressive. And while the transitions feel a little clunky in places, ultimately FrontX is an uplifting hour of movement, music and story.

Summerhall, until 24 Aug (not 12, 14, 21), 3pm, £9 (£7).


  • 3 stars

Cie No Way Back / Milan Emmanuel FrontX shows a range of international street artists who combine exceptional energy and resilience. Their fascinating personal life stories are the main theme of the show. As spokespersons of our contemporary society, these performers embody the true sense of integration, since the first…