Theatre Review: Kathakbox at The Place

Ancient north Indian dance merges with hip hop and spoken word in KATHAKBOX - a hugely energetic and enjoyable show.

Sonia Sabri take elements from raw hip hop dance and blends them with the ancient north Indian dance known as Kathak in this evocative performance.

It explores the ways in which people from different backgrounds can complement one another without losing their individual identity. Championing the hip hop is beat boxer Shan Bansil, who acclimatises to the Indian vocals and Kathak dance style.

Real life martial artist Nathan Geering is also outstanding in his use of break dancing together with his Kathak style of movement – and look out for his summersaults. And unbelievably good spoken words are spat out by Marcina Arnold, who also sings in acapella to a break dance and beat boxing backdrop.

This ‘urban Kathak’ performance appeals to young people because it is spontaneous and shoots from the hip, but it is also profound as the play challenges our tendency to put things in boxes. It advocates the retention of identity while encouraging compromise in allowing each performer to be influenced by the other’s artistic genre. Bollywood meets with A Spike Lee Joint is perhaps the best way of describing the play.

Each character is intrigued and fascinated by the other as they search for a middle ground and unwittingly influence each other to bring about freshness and originality.

Some of the acts are a bit too long and some dance sequences are repetitive mimics of prior scenes. Having said that, it is a hugely energetic and enjoyable show.

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* Kathakbox was performed at The Place, Duke’s Road, WC1, on Saturday, May 7.