Message In A Bottle - ZooNation Review

 When you combine award winning choreographer Kate Prince with the music of Sting you create something captivating and beautiful. You create a soaring and impactful story about the strength of humanity and the plight of families torn apart by destruction. 

Message In a Bottle is a dance show by ZooNation that tells the story of a family that are forced apart by war and terror. What starts as a celebration of life and community quickly turns into a fight for survival and three siblings whose journey to safety is different from each other unfolds on stage in front of you. 

Prince’s company Zoonation are jam packed with talent. Each dancer on stage seems to float, flip, and fly across the stage with such emotion and perfection that you forget that the dance is telling the story. You watch the community of Bebko celebrating life and love, juxtaposed with the ferociousness of conflict and treacherous travel. Each movement is so precise and perfect that the cast move in unison and create something exhilarating and exciting to watch. 

I was transfixed with the blend of dancing and music and thought that the cleverly created set truly supported the story that was unfolding. With clever use of neon lights, projections, and simplistic staging, you are completed immersed in the story and whisked away on each of the journeys that these characters are taking. 

Blended throughout the show is a soundtrack full of songs by Sting. With musical arrangements by Alex Lacamoire you are almost tricked into believing you are watching a musical on stage, and with clever choreography from Prince, you know that the storytelling is visually stunning. Whilst I am personally not a huge fan of Sting's work, I couldn't help but appreciate and understand that his lyrics and music paired perfectly with the story that was being told on stage. Combined with the female vocals of Beverly Knight tied throughout the songs, you felt the impact of the music's storytelling throughout the show. 

I was absolutely entranced by the show from start to finish. The music helped drive the narrative of the dance perfectly and the performers were just incredible. As a society we are being confronted by stories of displacement due to conflict every day. This show depicts the tragic aftermath of people that experience displacement and their journeys to search for a life that is safer than what they are leaving behind. It’s a poetic piece about resilience and keeping moving, even in your darkest of times. 

Message In A Bottle is on at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until the 13th May before continuing on a UK Tour. For more info and to book tickets, check out the ZooNation website. It's an unforgettable dance show like no other. 

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