ZooNation: Groove On Down the Road

Critics' choice
'Groove on Down The Road'

After the success of ‘Into the Hoods’ and ‘Some Like it Hip Hop’, Kate Prince’s groundbreaking hip hop dance theatre company ZooNation delivers another extraordinary show with ‘Groove on Down the Road’.

The performance is based on the 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz', but Prince packs it full of contemporary twists and curves – with a subversive message on the importance of creativity in the education system.

The show opens in a drab maths class with an unruly bunch of underperforming kids who eventually evolve – with magnificent hip hop solos – into Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion. Dancing down the Yellow Brick Road of notebook scraps that winds its way through the audience, they encounter a female gang of poppies in Lady Gaga wigs, a troupe of heckling crows, and Emerald High – under the rule of tough-guy Wizard – finally engaging in an epic dance battle with the bossy Wicked Witch of the West.

Sparkly red hi-top trainers, neon outfits, gravity-defying flips, a soundtrack featuring Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, plus multimedia quirks galore ensure this Oz is fresh and exhilarating.

It’s the cast which truly makes the show, however. The unbelievable amount of energy, spirit and individual character of each performer is so professionally packaged, it’s easy to forget they’re all young company members under 19 years old. Choreographically, it’s tight and flows seamlessly from one segment to the next – incorporating elements of jazz, swing and even lyrical dance to some pieces.

In the end, new lessons ring true as the kids return to the classroom and regain their passions with creative props. Dorothy references the WB Yeats poem: ‘But I, being a child, have only my dreams…teacher, tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’ It’s clear Prince has a personal relationship to the topic – as a dancer she struggled with academic subjects. However, any political agenda she has with the show is secondary by the heartwarming story of friendship, courage, imagination, and compassion – all wrapped in upbeat hip-hop.

By Jean Grant

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|4
1 person listening
Julian

It was one of those performances which keep you wondering what is happening next. The energy which comes out of these kids is breathtaking to say the least. I have 3 words, OMG. The music, moves in my opinion is one of the best I have seen so far, these kids must be credited for this wonderful performance!!!!!

ellie scaiola

Oh my word had no idea what to expect and was blown away by a seriously talented bunch of kids who have a very bright future ahead of them. Fantastic dance moves and music and the whole audience and cast enjoyed every second. Such energy and a wonderful take on the story of the Wizard of Oz. Love love loved it...get all ages down there and enjoy x

Jane broadbent

Saw this last night on its opening night! I knew it would be good as I loved "Into the Hoods"but I had no idea how utterly brilliant it is. the kids are ridiculously talented and the music was amazing, we really got into it, I was dancing like an idiot in my seat. we paid £10 for our tickets and they were perfect. I would highly recommend if you love Hip Hip, Street dance or contempory Dance. Your kids will love it and it addresses issues such as Bullying beautifully, you cannot help but smile, and I will be going back again to get a feel good buzz once again. WELL DONE ZooNation.

ts1

I saw this today with 4, 5 and 7 year olds. We all absolutely loved it. It's a great show and the talent of the young dancers is truly impressive and inspirational. We came away singing the songs (a couple from The Wiz, but mostly other funky tracks that fit the story) and wanting to go back and see it again.