LICENSED TO ILL, 4Star****, London, To 24 12

by Adam El Hagar, Simon Maeder & the Company.
4Stars ****

Southwark Playhouse, the Little, 77-86 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD to 24 December 2016.
Mon-Sat 8pm. Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 80 mins.

TICKETS: 020 7407 0234.

Review: William Russell 3 December.

An hilarious hip hop rave to relish

This hilarious musical entertainment has three guys performing the songs of the Beastie Boys, the hip hop group from New York who flourished from 1980 to the opening of the century, plus one who plays everybody else in what passes for the group’ story.

It is great fun, noisy, brash, and the songs are feet tapping affairs to send one out into the cold all steamed up. There is lots of audience participation so beware where you sit.

It opens with the cast dressed in Tyrolean hats, fright wigs and beards of a different colour making a lot of noise on the percussion and the guitars. After that the thing to do is sit back, let them take over and enjoy the ride. The plot of what is basically another juke box musical is a little confused as they seem to move about in time a lot, but it does not matter and the music justifies everything.

The title comes from one of their most successful records – Licensed to Ill – and the hits from their career come one after the other. By the end they boys are all in scarlet overalls singing Intergalactic about star trek and space. The backing track music used some of the time is brilliantly played and all four cast members have talent to spare and are strongly defined and contrasted personalities.

They may, or may not, be based on the originals, but the boys were, and the survivors still are characters. The only thing that puzzled was that the blue and tallow track suits featured on front of the programme, while they were hanging on the cheerfully psychedelic set, were never used.

MCA: Adam El Hagar.
Ad-Rock: Daniel Foxsmith.
Mike D: Simon Maeder.
DJ/ Various: Tope Mikun.

Consultant Director: Tid.
Set Design: Jemima Robinson.
Costume Design: Jemima Robinson & Ellie Wilding.
Lighting Design: Tim Mascall.
Graffiti Artist: Rosie Murray.

2016-12-05 12:20:39

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