Review: Insane In The Brain @ Peacock Theatre

By Lindsey Last edited 112 months ago
Review: Insane In The Brain @ Peacock Theatre


An afternoon of heavy rain didn't put off the riotous audience welcoming Bounce back to the Peacock Theatre stage last night as Insane in the Brain wowed with its spellbinding version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

It's so simple. Severe Nurse Ratched compels her inmates to perform a strict ballet barre routine on a daily basis. Along comes McMurphy with his crazy charm and rebellious streak - what else would he be but a breaker? He sticks Express Yourself on in the courtyard and the institutionalised bunch (and guards) to do just that. The psychiatric patients shed their clinical repression and relax into the addictive beats with nifty breaking - the excitement spreading through the group.

And what better way to present ECT than to string up your victims on bungee ropes against the set wall, crank System of a Down up loud and go crazy, mingling shades of parkour with tumbling hip hop and frazzled popping and locking? Therapy to Dizzee Rascal is compulsively chaotic and the sequeway into Flashdance's Maniac for the bladder troubled Miss Martini is genius. But it's not all high tempo. Tragic Billy's first sexual encounter is sizzling hot as his stuttering shyness is overcome by sexpot Candy and the final powerful scene, to winsome strings, is stripped right back. OK, they skipped presenting a lobotomy live on stage but Chief's escape through the glowing window leaves the bowled over audience with a flicker of hope.

The show is brilliantly staged and awesome to watch, yet still hits hard with the issues at play in the story - those of power and madness, institutionalisation and treatment and just what makes someone insane anyway. Even those who shrink from the prospect of a 'dance show' should banish their prejudices and pop their dance cherry with this one. We defy you to sit still during this rambunctious yet moving mix of hip hop dance, storytelling and straight up holler for it entertainment from this audaciously energetic Scandinavian collective. Diversity, take note.

Insane in the Brain is at the Peacock Theatre from 15 September to 3 October. Tickets £10-36. Book online. Now. Image by Hakan Lårsson

Last Updated 16 September 2009