Boy Blue: hip hop meets martial arts - reviews
Boy Blue's The Five and the Prophecy of Prana is a daft but spectacular kung fu dance mash-up
What you need to know
Boy Blue Entertainment's new narrative dance show The Five and the Prophecy of Prana is an "ambitious" blend of hip hop and martial arts. Boy Blue, best known for their hit Pied Piper, devised the show with Japanese manga artist Akio Tanaka.
It tells the story of five delinquents who must learn discipline in order to help their martial arts Grand Master stop a traitorous monk from stealing the power that controls world peace.
Boy Blue's co-founders, Kendrick Sandy (a choreographer of the London 2012 opening ceremony) and Michael Asante direct the dance and music. Tommy Franzén stars as the Grand Master. At the Barbican until 2 November.
What the critics like
"Ambitious and clever", this fusion of hip-hop dance-theatre, martial arts and manga adds up to a satisfying night out, says Donald Hutera in The Times. It's a highly diverting show with slick and striking visuals, a pumped-up soundtrack, and gymnastically springy choreography.
If this comic, manga mash-up "evokes kung fu movies at their daftest, it also delivers their spectacle", says Zoe Anderson in The Independent. Hip hop and fighting moves mesh wonderfully with fabulous shimmies and fight scenes that explode with acrobatics.
Boy Blue's latest show is "a lot of fun" with plenty of talent, originality and humour, says Lindsey Winship in the Evening Standard. Tanaka's beautiful projections turn the stage into frames from a Japanese comic book, the mismatched kung fu-style dubbing creates comedy and the dancers are fantastic.
What they don't like
Boy Blue's The Five has all the ingredients of a superb show, but it's overloaded with a complicated, near-unstageable story, says Judith Mackrell in The Guardian. Franzén's dancing is "mesmerising" but the work flounders through a mess of choppy flashbacks and inaudible dialogue. ·