REVIEW: Tales of the Turntable, ZooNation Youth Company, Southbank Centre

This energetic company present a lively show about family, overcoming adversity and following your passion that leaves you with a smile on your face.

(c) Takis Zontiros.

The sheer confidence and joy that is expressed through this wonderful new dance piece directed and choreographed by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille is astounding. From a pulsating dance off from two rival gangs in one of the sequence to the wonderful relationship between Eric and Grandpa George – there is plenty here that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Having last been seen at the Southbank Centre in 2014 with Groove On Down the Road, ZooNation Youth Company’s new piece examines the exactly how music and dance can be used effectively to tell a story – as well as the importance of music in all of our lives.

Tales of the Turntable follows Eric, who lives with his Grandad George as he attempts to become a DJ. He is also bullied at school and lacking inspiration, until George decides to help with Eric’s passion for music by the use of a gramophone which is not all it appears.

Spanning across the decades from a cool and sophisticated sequence set in the 1920’s with gangsters to the more laid back nature of the 1970’s and beyond, this is a show that really embraces each decade – not only through Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s sharp and electrifying choreography that mixes different styles of dance effectively but also the easily adaptable set designs by Jacob Hughes and Matt Carter’s excellent and fun lighting design.

But there are elements that can prove to be slightly distracting – particularly the stilted nature of the narration – much of which is conveyed easily by the exaggerated but immensely enjoyable body language of the cast. Meanwhile, there are also some sequences that last slightly too long – for example the audition sequence that could be slightly tightened up to better effect.

Yet it is hard to deny the warmth of the humour and the sheer infectiousness of the show as a whole, helped of course by some of the most talented young people I have seen performing. All of the cast have a strong confidence about them that it is hard to believe that they aren’t professionals already – handling every element of choreography with great grace and maturity.

Thrilling, funny and entertaining from start to finish, ZooNation Youth Company’s Tales of the Turntable shows off the company’s talent to dazzling effect.

By Emma Clarendon

Tales of the Turntable continues to play at the Southbank Centre until the 26th August.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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