Message in a Bottle is one of those rare revolutionary shows that feels like it’s paving a new dance form for the future. It combines deliciously refreshing hip hop and delicate contemporary choreography with the inspiring music of Sting. Kate Prince’s inventive choreography coupled with Sting’s powerful music is a masterpiece.
The story follows a family through a refugees crisis. Three siblings start together in a joyful celebration of exuberant dancing. But disaster strikes and the dance piece beautifully narrates a heartbreaking story. It’s addressing refugees, war, family, relationships and a sense of belonging.
Prince’s choreography is stunning. She creates such intricate and speedy choreography it’s hard to believe the dancers are able to move that fast. It’s invigorating to see such original choreography that is deeply imaginative. The dance encompasses pedestrian like movements, hip hop body language and the agility necessary of a gymnast. I couldn’t label it with a certain style, but a hip hop, contemporary and gymnastics fusion is the closest one can get. The way it’s paired with the music is like a hand in a glove. The movements are so descriptive it’s as clear as reading a book. I am truly excited for this choreographers future work and believe she is creating a different mode of modern ballet.
The dancers themselves are stunning. They execute every movement with a cat like precision and their energy is commendable. Their relentless strength and electric energy makes the show what it is. It’s one of those shows where I wasn’t able to write any notes for fear of missing a moment of exquisite dancing. The show is blind cast, which feels deeply refreshing. The siblings don’t match and the gender of the guards isn’t always ‘accurate’, but it’s unimportant. It means you feel you are watching the very best for the job and each personally shines through excellently. They are not just technically brilliant, they also perform with heart and fantastic authenticity. They’re expressions are heart breaking and warming all in one and it takes you on a life journey in two hours.
The lights, videos and set by Natasha Chivers, Ben Stones and Andrzej Goulding match up brilliantly and enhance the action on stage. It highlights truly beautiful moments and creates deeply poignant points. This is especially true when one sibling experiences PTSD and tries to push away past memories of war. The marriage of video, lighting and choreography in this moment is seamless and it creates a breath taking scene.
There is a new era of theatre coming to the scene that is revitalising, welcoming and powerful. Prince is very much at the forefront of this work.