Returning to the Almeidawith critically acclaimed show Hymn, which was live-streamed earlier on this year, Danny Sapaniand Adrian Lesterprovide a welcome return to live theatre, both providing powerhouse performances gravitating all within their newly established world.
Set atop Miraculous Engineering’s and Miriam Buether’s clever, classic, sophisticated oak runway staging, two strangers are brought together by circumstance, the evening observing the two as they learn more about one another, their lives gradually intertwining. Sapani and Lester honour Lolita Chakrabati’s honest, ever moving, thoughtful script, the pair offering authentic performances individually as well as together.
Never a dull moment on stage, D.J. Walde’s R’n’B, Hip Hop and Jazz inspired musical direction energises the already engaging space, well known classics such as Bill Withers’ Lean on Me, The Temptations’ Papa Was a Rolling Stone and Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight amongst others adding vibrancy, the musical element spiritual, justifying its presence within the production. Married together with Robia Milliner’s varied rhythmic movement direction, we’re transported back to 70s B-Boy and Hip Hop culture as well as to the modern day with more contemporary upbeat salsa, two-step and freestyle sequences – a fun fixture that has the audience dancing and singing along at points, this testament to the connection established by the two cast members and storytelling formed via movement and sound.
Blanche McIntyre directs a thought provoking, heartfelt evening, a show not afraid to highlight vulnerability. Themes of family, connection, ambition, celebration imperative to the play’s rich framework, Hymn ultimately about two people trying their best in regards to personal ambiton and supporting those around them. A vibrant yet emotional watch.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Hymn is currently showing until Friday 13th August at the Almeida Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…