Tessellating masses of bodies fly everywhere. Bright, exotic colours fill the stage. A projection gives a clear image of the world we are in. Soho, a place full of class, sleaze, seduction, style and warmth; an area I frequent often. Stufish have created a piece that blends many mediums of performance; through circus, theatre, dance, and martial arts the audience are taken on a journey along the exciting streets of this well-known location.
In this ninety-minute performance you are constantly surrounded by wonder, and even though there is a lot going on, it is never too much to watch. This kind of act could be disorientating to witness, but director Abigail Yeates has ensured that this is not the case. Our focus is tailored to a specific part of the stage, whilst we also subconsciously take in the rest of what is happening.
Throughout SOHO audiences are having genuine reactions that they can’t help but vocalise. Words such as “incredible”, “amazing”, and “oh my god” leave their mouths and it is exciting to see people filled with such immense enjoyment and awe. I find myself feeling incredibly moved as the piece continues; this is an area I know. It is a place I’ve slept, drank, danced and it is wonderful to see it celebrated with such magnificence. The performers express so much pleasure throughout the show, and the sound design from Jeremy George is expertly chosen. Kym Mazelle’s Young Hearts perfectly describes the free-spirited nature of this place.
The whole show is a highlight, but there are some moments that I can’t stop thinking about a day later. Anton Simpson-Tidy’s martial arts routines are extraordinary, especially the moments in which he uses weapons in the Chinatown sequence. Danny Ash’s aerial tissue act in drag to Peggy Lee’s Fever is sultry and this combination of styles is something I wish I can see more regularly. The stand out moment comes from Xander Taylor; his ability to tell a story through physical performance is breath taking. His aerial trapeze acts are raw, evocative and the shapes he creates instil many narrative images in the mind.
The piece represents Soho without any stigma, stereotypes or judgements. It celebrates the diversity of culture and shows the different ways to experience this place. But as the tagline of the show says, it’s not just a place; it’s a state of mind. It’s also a celebration of who we are, as well as an inspiration of what we can be. 5/5
Review written by Alistair Wilkinson.
SOHO is currently showing at the Peacock Theatre until Saturday 20th May 2017. For more information on the production, visit here…