The Legend of Mike Smith @ The Albany

Saxophonist, Jazz composer, and rapper, Soweto Kinch, brings a fusion of jazz, hip hop and physical theatre in an hour and a half package.

The plainly named Mike Smith is a signalled smirk from the talented artist, who is ironically flirting with a fictional everyman. What we get, however is a character ripe with hip-hop clichés, who we never really get on board with.

Mike Smith is a young aspiring MC dogged with contemporary strains. Rather than prepare a track for a record company that day, Mike succumbs to procrastination, which materialises in porn, drugs and commercial binging.

The chorography of the show is well crafted by Jonzi D and the use of lighting helps to highlight the multi-set dynamics, which makes the piece novel. By using alter-egos, Mike Smith is presented as a diverse character and the interaction of the energetic trio is absorbing. Equally the pieces of music were cleverly incorporated, and brandished Soweto’s musical talents.

The performance largely comments on contemporary society and as ever Soweto’s words are politically charged. He successfully condenses complicated policy in an interactive way, and it is at these points that Soweto’s quick wit is best applied. Some of Soweto’s magic, however, was forever lost into a raspy microphone, making parts difficult to follow.

Soweto teases us with a recurring vision of a fantastic battle between wizards, a distinctly fresh departutre from hip-hop themes, but this never climaxes. So when it ends the audience are hesitating in the dark, waiting for more.

Tuesday 1st-Saturday 5th Octber at The Albany http://www.thealbany.org.uk/event_detail/1002/Theatre/Soweto-Kinch:-The-Legend-of-Mike-Smith

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