Hive City Legacy Swarms The Roundhouse

Hive City Legacy, The Roundhouse ★★★★☆

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Hive City Legacy Swarms The Roundhouse Hive City Legacy, The Roundhouse 4
Photo: Helen Murray

Hive City Legacy returns to the Roundhouse in an explosive blend of burlesque, spoken-word, music, dance, beat-boxing, body-popping — and some aerial acrobats thrown in for good measure.

The studio space that houses the show feels almost too small and cramped to contain not only the exhilarating energy of the performers, but the enthusiasm of the audience. The show is composed of satirical vignettes around regularly-occurring experiences, from the morning commute to an office party, seen through the eyes of women and femme-presenting people of colour.

Photo: Helen Murray

Bee imagery is everywhere; in a huge LED sign overlooking the stage area, the hive-like hexagonal construction of the set, on the performers' costumes and buzzing away in the soundscape (bees really have had some excellent PR in recent years). The message here is clear: pollinate, activate, liberate. These nine Femmes of Colour are on a mission and they are not here to fuck about.

Photo: Helen Murray

The cast are a collective in every sense, and seem to move as a swarm, finding the power in their number. Yet this ensemble also platforms the lived experience of the individual; amplifying voices that often go unheard — or ignored. Each cast member highlights with fierce finesse a different facet of what it’s like to inhabit a non-white femme body.

Photo: Helen Murray

There are several moments in this show that will make you uncomfortable — particularly if you are white or non-femme. But this is intentional and integral to its mission to provoke and ignite. This is reactive, dynamic performance art and it deserves to be on a bigger stage.

Hive City Legacy, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH. Tickets £12.50, until 30 July 2019.

Last Updated 19 July 2019