Smother (3 stars)

This article is from 2015


credit: Cody Choi

Same-sex couples filtered through a contemporary hip hop lens

The seven switched-on members of contemporary hip hop company 201 Dance bring plenty of kinetic attack to this slick and slender, yet sincere hour of mainly swift, occasionally tender semi-narrative dance. The piece charts the developments of two same-sex relationships. This is irregular emotional terrain for mainstream hip hop culture to be exploring, so credit to choreographer Andrea Walker for giving it some consideration.

Dramatic intention sits fairly well upon the shoulders of a young cast, including Walker, who appear to be ardent about the somewhat hedonistic rhythms of desire. They start out as coke-snorting party animals who look like they’d be most at home in a pop video. Gradually boy meets boy, with one being especially drug-oriented, and girl meets girl, only in a softer matter. The latter duo doesn’t follow much of a dramatic arc, but their behaviour is more recognisably human and even ordinary than their rather hard-driven male counterparts.

If ultimately it feels as if there simply isn’t enough of the incisive emotional pay-off this production is meant to generate, Walker nonetheless evidences a facility for fashioning ensemble movement.

Zoo, 662 6892, until 22 Aug, 6.40pm, £11 (£10).


  • 3 stars

201 Dance Company Can you stay true to yourself, when everything suggests you change? 201’s raw, contemporary hip-hop returns in Smother: a story of two men's broken encounter. After sell-out performances in New York and London, this groundbreaking production touches on themes of addiction, obsession, and the meaning of…