Go down to the hoods today


Into The Hoods: Remixed (Zoo Nation) Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Let me make a confession. I am not cool. I am not hip. I am not urban. I am a thirtysomething white girl from Northumberland. And I live in Canterbury, which must be one of the least ‘urban’ cities in the UK. The reason for telling you all this, is to explain that I am probably not the target audience for Zoo Nation’s Into The Hoods, a hip-hop dance re-telling of Into The Woods.  And if I’m not the target audience, my sixty-something husband definitely isn’t. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been on at the theatre where I work, we’d probably wouldn’t have gone to see it in a million years. But we both loved it.

So, what gives? Well, first of all the sheer energy, enthusiasm and talent of the dancers is completely irresistible. The production takes universally known fairy stories, and transposes them to the ‘Ruff Endz Estate’, where we meet some of the residents of Beanstalk Towers: the giant, who lives in penthouse, Jaxx who lives in the basement (if you get that particular late 90’s reference…), budding  DJ Spinderella, wanna-be MC Rap-On-Zel, D-list reality TV star Prince, and even the Big Bad Wolf, in this case the owner of Big Teef records, who’s looking to sign singing talent Lil’ Red. Into this world come two lost children – the Towers’ landlord promises them he will give them the bus fare to escape the hoods and go back home, but only if they will find him an iPhone as white as milk, a hoodie as red as blood, trainers as pure as gold, and some weave as yellow as corn…

As you might have guessed by now, this is a production with a lot of wit and humour. Whether that’s the brilliant depiction of Prince as an hilariously accurate over-singing reality show contestant, or the perfectly-chosen music, like Rap-On-Zel singing Rescue Me after she’s locked up in the tower, this is a very funny show. It doesn’t matter if you don’t necessarily get all of the references. One scene involves a re-staging of the dance battle from the video for It’s Like That in an old people’s home, complete with Zimmer frames. Now, as that video comes from the late 90’s, I doubt the teenage girls in the audience got the reference, and my husband certainly didn’t. It doesn’t really matter – the scene still brought the house down.

So, if you get the chance, go down to the hoods today…you might get a big surprise…