NH? \"(ORK PIERCE .00 Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 8 May
Making aerosols of themselves
Hip hop culture has slowly metamorphosed during the last 25 years from underground cult into globe-straddling musical phenomenon. By virtue of this, it has also become the perfect mainstream marketing tool with rapping animals touting biscuits, scratch DJs shopping at Asda and breakdancing at McDonalds being painfully crude, commonplace examples of the art permeating popular culture. So, if it is so at home elsewhere, then why does it still seem oddly quaint idea to bring graffiti, that most shady and visceral of all the cultures’ elements, into the theatre?
Fierce isn’t such an unusual premise: a loner teen with a medical disorder that can only be controlled through a permanent prescription, finds drug-free escape in graffiti writing. In turn, he finds friends - a crew to go writing with — and love in the shape of a sassy supermarket co-worker. Confrontations with his mother and the local gang of neds lead him to face up to his illegal actions and test the strength of the bonds of friendship he has created.
To call this a hip hop Hollyoaks isn’t as much of an insult as it might sound. The premise is plausible, the characters are skilfully judged (and smartly, sharply played out) and even the rapidly rapped dialogue — once you adapt to the frenetic pace — is tight, expressive and engaging, but in general, the script lacks an emotional depth.
The humour is perfectly judged, and when it’s funny, Fierce is very funny, one particular highlight being a skit which makes music out of the pulsing monotony of a Scotmid checkout till. But as many of the stronger scenes are played for laughs, the more tender or tense moments lack the power to carry them through. Sometimes, what should be a point of serious drama plays out like a scene from a teen mag photo story, which is disappointing when you consider how well many of the other elements come together.
Philip Pinsky’s music and Allan Irvine‘s choreography are excellent but one wish is that the spectacular spray can art at the heart of the story could have been ten feet bigger to properly show the scale and scope of its beauty. A valiant effort which paints a vivid, if incomplete picture.
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62 THE LIST '-
(ZONH Ml’OHAHY [DANCE NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER 2
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 21—Sat 22 May
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A good nightie out
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