TRAPLORD @ 180 Studios x Sadler’s Wells Review

A sub genre of Hip Hop originating from Chicago, Trap music has gone on to enjoy success on a mainstream level, the marker of success – the various interpretations of Trap across the globe, the UK bringing with it its own interpretation of the genre with Drill music. A means of expression for the underrepresented, the genre brings with it an honesty about the stark and harsh realities of life. Forming the inaugural season of his Artistic Directorship at newly established 180 Studios x Sadler’s Wells, director, choreographer and performer Ivan Michael Blackstock presents TRAPLORD, an exploration of trap culture.

An exciting addition to the Hip Hop Theatre genre, TRAPLORD is an honest exploration of young Black male mental health and the power of connection, the troupe throughout a vital support system for one another, one that has to constantly fend for itself in a brutal, non forgiving world. We step into their mysterious, subterranean realm, an enigmatic walkway lit by blue lights either side gearing us up for what is to come. Intriguing, we are now part of their world. Creatxr, Michael ‘Mickey J’ Asante, Dominant and Denzel Himself contribute an exhilarating, electric fuelled, high octane soundtrack that powerfully underscores the evening, sound designer Luke Swaffield for Autograph honouring the show’s audio element with an evening that resounds and echoes.

Jonzi D, Anthony Ekundayo Lennon and Gbolahan Obisesan supply their unrivalled expertise within the Hip Hop and Black Theatre scene to oversee the show’s dramaturgical process, the end result a mighty journey throughout this young troupe’s lives from life on the streets, to their schooling experiences, to basic survival, to redemption. A Donnie Darko-esque bunny a through line, constantly on the run seeking refuge, a pig-like character the hunter, the one all fears, a powerful use of allegory that keeps the evening constantly on the move. Spoken word by Magero resonantpotent and lyrical. The cast at points confronted with their own reflections in mirrors, offering moments of self reflection and growth, check points to also look within ourselves and reflect. Krumping, contortion and popping all integral, beautiful choreographic elements of the evening, the show’s video component incredible – video programmer Salvador Avila, video technician Caitlyn Russell and video editor Jacob Krupolc and animators Jáchym Bouzek, Barbora Senoltová and Rena Lizawa all helping to create an alternate reality fused with high-rises and video game conventions. A concrete jungle whereby survival is key.

The troupe consisting of – Ivan Michael Blackstock, Chantelle Dane, Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus, Kanah Flex, Wild G, Kynn Jake, Magero, Robia Milliner, UNDERWATERKASH, Malachi Welch and Chaldon Williams tie the evening together with their unparalleled camaraderie. TRAPLORD successfully combining the key elements of Hip Hop – music, art, dance, spoken word and rap and as a result embodying authenticity in abundance.

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Traplord is currently showing at 180 Studios x Sadler’s Wells until Saturday 16th April 2022. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop