Political hip hop poetry musical is all sound and fury
This article is from 2012.
Death Boogie is a political hip hop musical, performed by a dancing poet-rapper rhyming over his own beatbox loops, a double bass player and violinist, all against a backdrop of comic-strip visuals peppered with WHOAs, BIFFs and BOOYAKASHs. Sound like a sensory overload? It is.
The idea was a good one: poet Darian Dauchan’s everyman Victor Spartan is stuck in a vortex of work, sleep and consumerism in a USA-like country, while his bullying big bro is away fighting in foreign lands. But the story has little power: disparate elements fail to link satisfyingly, and Dauchan comes over like a boisterous child engaged in some sort of scatty, breathless boy’s-own let’s-pretend game.
The projected visuals are stylish and clever, but too often distract from storytelling that’s not engaging enough to hold its own. The funky discord of the music suits the mood of disaffection and overarching threat, but it’s hard to make out the words between instruments, beats, movement and visuals – and when they do surface, rather than the feisty verbal dexterity of a poetry slam or a rap battle, they’re formed into disappointingly platitudinous statements.
Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 20), 7.50pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).