Tapping out history
Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk
Review by Ross Anthony

Having heard of the show near the end of its run in LA, I was unable to obtain press passes, but my friend was very interested and bought us the $25 dollar tickets. She was told that it would be "a little warm" in the upper balcony. A note in the playbill read: "The theatre has been heated at the company's request for the dancers' safety. Management apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause."

In fact, I removed three layers of clothing and still nearly passed out. The thing is -- the auditorium is ventable. But we arrived 15 minutes early and the show began 25 minutes late (due to a line at Will-Call -- we were told). Nonetheless that put us in "heat" for 40 minutes without relief. When the house lights went down, that was the first of very limited ventilation. We were told the dancers needed the stage to be 75 degrees as not to cramp up, and of course heat rises. But this is not the Roman Coliseum. This is the 21st century. This problem is solvable and not one to inflict on anyone attending such a prestigious event.

Our distant view also hindered the enjoyment of the performance. The dancers were about thumb high, upper knuckle to tip. One inch. This is a situation where "cheap seats" just doesn't deliver. Still, there were moments down there that translated into excitement up top.

As for the audio. Earlier on, much of the words to the songs/poems were inaudible, but that problem smoothed out as the show went on. Either way, the acoustics were quite poor. What should have been sharp hard-hitting clicks, taps and snaps were something we heard from a distance. I'd have expected the Ahmanson to equip its theater well enough with speakers so that everyone in attendance would be able to hear without problem. Visuals, of course, can't be helped, but the audio is amplified anyway -- why make some seats inferior to others in audio?

Oh, speaking of visual. This show utilizes a video screen at the back of the stage, which was nearly completely obstructed from our view by the upper stage curtain. This is an unforgivable error. The theatre sold us obstructed view seats without alerting us to that fact. I strongly recommend they look into this problem in the future.

Aside from these fixable deficiencies, the Ahmanson is a wonderful theater with an open feeling, has comfortable chairs (even in the balcony) an interesting innovative ceiling design and an overall warm feeling. All the service people were kind, courteous and helpful.

As for the show....
Simple sets, accented with great lighting. Some darned good tap. Songs/Poems didn't add to the dance (which is why I was there), but then again, we couldn't see the video and the words weren't always clear. But surprisingly, even beyond the dance, what makes the show truly electric are the percussionists. A duo plays mega-pattycake on each other. Donning a kitchen worth of pots and pans all over their bodies, they bang and clang out an exciting energetic beat that climaxes in a man to man chest to chest victory leap. Later, another duo (or were they the same duo?), scrolls out on a raised platform. With only paint buckets and an endless supply of drumsticks, the two blow the lid off the house with their lightening speed, tasteful tattoo rhythms, musical dialogue and infectious passion. A+ Awesome for these two. It was a privilege to witness them -- even at only an inch high.

  • Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. Copyright © 2003.
  • Review of Feb 14th, 2003 performance at the Los Angeles Ahmanson Theatre.
  • Created by and starring Savion Glover.
  • Directed by George C. Wolfe.

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:37 PDT