Review: Flawless in Chase the Dream at Peacock Theatre
Reviewed: 11 May
Flawless have been chasing the dream for seven years and – you know what – I think that they might just have caught it. Despite already having been UK and World Champions, Flawless remain best known for not winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, the year when the shoe-in favourite, Susan Boyle, lost out to their street dance rivals, Diversity. For me, then as now, the true winner was the act that declared its superior talent in the name.
Having seen Flawless years ago in Breakin’ Convention and then marveled at their dynamic harmonies in BGT, I wondered if their undoubted union of musicality, rhythm and ripped athleticism could translate into a full evening show. Banging out powerful 90-second dances is one thing but could they sustain it over two hour-long Acts? The answer is an unequivocal “of course they can”! Although, admittedly the crew struggled to make sense of a thin veneer of narrative, which had something to do with a down-and-out finding his way morphing into a trans-galactic space trip where four spacemen gained special powers from selecting a talismanic item of clothing. I decided early in the first half not to try and decipher a storyline I couldn’t understand and just go with the flow of their mind-boggling hi-energy. There are few dance troupes that can sustain two hours of dance without narrative but these guys don’t need to bother. They can leave that to ZooNation and Blue Boy Ents.
When these ten guys dance together – in whatever permutation – they DANCE TOGETHER. Any corps de ballet in the world would be proud of their musicality and their unity of movement and I’ve no doubt that it is the product of honing technique and discipline through years of hard graft to make such harmony seem effortless and almost casually fluid. The opening and closing routines were spectacularly good, with the ensemble gelling as a flawlessly integrated and synchronized team. But, after the flash bang of the opener, some of the show’s weakest moments came in a first half that began to appear almost dull, particularly in the long sequence of a guy sleeping rough on the park bench and then trying to find himself, with the over-killed motif of pointing to his trousers to the riff “Money in my pockets” ; although a surprisingly lyrical, almost balletic, sequence with mirrors was a fine antidote to the blazing rhythms and glaring lights of the opening routine.
A heady mix of streetdance styles morphed through the routines with Allan “Boogie” Kabeja’s popping; Paul “Steady”’ Steadman’s amazing b-boy spinning windmills (he’s in the Guinness Book of Records for doing 43 in 30 seconds), Paul “Breaker”’ Samuels injury-defying flips; Leroy “FX” Dos Santos’ handstand freezes and “hops”, and Christian “Bounce” Alozie’s krumping among the highlights of many individual feats. In the talisman sequence towards the end of the show, the Michael Jackson and Neo-Matrix tributes were sensational.
The audience even gets to join in, learning and performing a hands-only routine with everyone wearing white cotton gloves and having the resultant mass of Mickey-Mouse mess beamed onto the screens for us all to have a good laugh at just how un-coordinated dance can be! Not so for artistic director, Marlon “Swoosh” Wallen and his talented friends. In 2004, Wallen set out to create the world’s greatest street dance group and having already become world champions he’s now set to conquer the globe again, one stage at a time.
Flawless Chase the Dream at the Peacock Theatre until 28 May **”more details/online booking“:http://www.sadlerswells.com/show/flawless-chase-the-dream