Alice in the Underground
04/10/2007 - 06/10/2007
hip hop / urban concert TRiPLe8FuNk
TRiPLe8FuNk is one of New Zealand’s most established Hip Hop / Urban Dance companies, based at the University of Auckland with a strong vision for education & creative innovation. It has produced some of the best Hip Hop dance shows such as the remake of Cleopatra, Snow White & the 7 G’s, Blacula & Evolution. So don’t dare miss this one.
When: Thu 4 / Fri 5 / Sat 6 Oct
Where: Dorothy Winstone Theatre, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School
Duration: 90 mins
Tickets: $20 door sales /
Presales discount on website
Dance , Hiphop ,
All to brief … No heat rises
Review by Dr Mark James Hamilton 05th Oct 2007
Opening night. The largely empty auditorium feels desolate, despite the homely smell of a sausage sizzle wafting in from the foyer, and the excitement of TRiPLe8FuNk’s keen supporters.
On stage a signpost indicates distant world cities (like at Cape Reinga), and a fire hydrant and trash can balance the picture. None of the three figure all evening, while Alice, in her Disney-style blue frock, encounters the White Rabbit et al. Her tale is told with witty cross-references to The Matrix and Hugh Heffner’s Play Boy mansion, but these sharp ideas get minimal follow through.
Surprise of the night is the Queen of Hearts, who presides over a glam disco called Flamingos, where showgirls sport red bustles and glittery masks. A young Asian guy plays the Queen, wearing a naughty nightdress. He has fun vamping like a young Frankenfurter and snapping like Ru Paul.
Special mention must also be made of the guest artists. The locking and popping quartet, in suits and trilbies, resemble electro-pop group Kraftwerk mixed with vintage Michael Jackson. Suspended like marionettes their knees swing in crazy lasso loops. A team of breakers later give a shapely set that far surpasses the structure of most crew’s wearying trick fests. But they’ve got panache: one guy handstands and pummels the air with feet that pump like pneumatic pistons.
Triple8Funk’s movement vocabulary has interesting qualities: staccato freezes, treacly undulations, and thrust and snatched limbs. There’s even a ten second burst of krumping and later some arse-waggling slow squats. But it’s all so brief – and so very fully clothed – that no heat rises. Nothing is sustained, and no mood builds.
The show holds close to hip hop’s devotion to arrested momentum and the boxy visuals of TV: sharp impulses arise and are immediately reabsorbed through smooth looping moves, and, despite their big stage, Triple8Funk dance as if in a tiny frame.
The best of Triple8Funk’s work is all too brief when they demo their richly packed "2007 Hip Hop World Champs" routine, which is clever if aerobics-like. At the open, the dancers rise from flat on the floor to make a freeze while a miming "tagger" passes by – thus a graffiti mural is formed. There is a smart aerial trick too. One guy jumps up, to be caught and swung higher. He leaps free and runs in the air, landing strong on his feet. The crew also make a cheeky surfer illusion to an accompanying Beach Boy ditty.
This show is a new venture, and with honest self-appraisal the hip hop cast can make it grow to become good theatre.
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