A Tip Top Hip Hop Pop Rock Dance Spectacular: Message In A Bottle At Peacock Theatre

Message In A Bottle, Peacock Theatre ★★★★★

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 7 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

A Tip Top Hip Hop Pop Rock Dance Spectacular: Message In A Bottle At Peacock Theatre Message In A Bottle, Peacock Theatre 5
Photo: Helen Maybanks

If using the music of dinner party favourite Sting as the basis for a wild and inventive hip hop dance show isn’t an act of iconoclastic bravado, I don’t know what is.

Message In A Bottle may have the distinct whiff of jukebox musical about it, considering the entire soundtrack comes courtesy of Sting’s back catalogue, but producer and choreographer Kate Prince uses his stirring melodies to great effect. She may not be well known but her list of credits is a testament to her talents. Through her own company Zoonation, she produced the West End’s first hip hop dance show, Into The Hoods, has put on shows at the Royal Opera House and Roundhouse, and worked on the upcoming film version of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Photo: Helen Maybanks

The plot is as old yet timely as they come: a bunch of happy and stunningly attractive folk are invaded and forced to flee their country, face imprisonment and persecution and finally settle into a new place. Even just reading that abbreviated plot synopsis might make a rational person think that Message In a Bottle will have all the appeal of spending an afternoon watching Sting engaging in tantric sex.

Photo: Helen Maybanks

Not so. This is an eyeball-blistering bulldozer of a show with the passionate attitudes of the large cast and the creative skills of Prince and her backroom crew propelling this extravaganza to great heights. Sting’s music (both during his time with The Police and his solo work) is cleverly used in place of formal dialogue to add the level of depth and emotion usually bereft from jukebox musicals.

Message In A Bottle, Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, WC2A 2HT. Tickets £18-£89 (£10 with Barclays Dance Pass), until 21 March 2020.

Last Updated 25 February 2020