The Independent London Newspaper
24th March 2019

Theatre: Review - ZIP: A Streetdance Musical at Lion and Unicorn Theatre

    Published: 05 August 2010
    by JOSH LOEB

    IN Camden, Islington and elsewhere in inner London, the list of victims of gang violence gets longer each year.

    With the strapline “A Streetdance Musical”, this play about gun and knife crime will no doubt be judged bad taste by some. In fact, it is a brave piece of theatre that slams into you and leaves you dizzy in astonishment as it casts its searchlights in all directions looking for answers to that question the media and politicians ask in vain: why are so many young people getting involved in gangs?

    But where columnists and voices from on high can seem insincere, this play is raw and from the heart. 

    It was developed via workshops involving young people who have been affected by street violence, and director Ray Shell deserves great credit for having brought these disparate individuals together in this way – as do Camden Council and the Big Lottery Fund for supporting the project.

    This Was My Life, an angry admonishment from beyond the grave, provides the emotional opening. The show ends with It’s Not My Fault, a song about how we are all implicated, on some level, in bad things that happen in our society.

    In between, ZIP covers some of the same ground as those hand-wringing editorials – via dance and beat-boxing.

    We hear about “respect” and about the boundaries some are blind to and others aren’t (perhaps only gang members and postal delivery staff are truly conscious of where one “endz” ends and another begins). 

    But listen to the quick-fire lyrics touching on the psychological bricks that build a killer and how the wars on our streets and in the Middle East both have their fallen “soldiers”. 

    Whichever the weapon, perhaps it makes little difference when the result is another life lost.

    ZIP returns for the second half of its Camden Fringe run on August 27-29.
    There will be another run from August 31 to September 5.Tickets 08444 771 000



    ZIP - a must-see

    ZIP has great appeal to younger audiences, a sort of Skins meets Kidulthood. Very good, attractive young performers, especially James Kenward who was electric and brilliant. Really worth going to see and could be a potential transfer.

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