Message In A Bottle Review

Katie Prince's Message In A Bottle wows with its moving storyline and breathtaking dancing. Peter Gray reports.

A jukebox musical tackling the refuge crisis hardly sounds like the most plausible of entities, but Katie Prince’s ZooNation company have pulled it off with aplomb.

Prince’s treatment of the subject matter is both nuanced and sensitive, and the music and dancing are thrilling. 

The production tells the story of three siblings who suddenly find themselves caught up in a nightmare when their homeland is thrown into the chaos of civil war and they end up being trafficked to a foreign land.

The ensuing story goes to some incredibly dark places with depictions of the hazardous sea crossing and several scenes set in a detention centre. If that all sounds a little depressing however, the triumph of Message In A Bottle is that the production is so uplifting.

Prince, known for her thrilling series of hip hop dance shows, including Into the Hoods and Some Like It Hip Hop, acquits herself admirably here.

She is ably assisted by Playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, off course. Chakrabarti’s narrative is well paced and clear, while packing considerable emotional power.

However, in the final analysis, it is the choreography and dancing that win the day, and for that we must credit Prince and her incredible dancers.

Dance productions can struggle to maintain the necessary suspension of disbelief when tackling issues like war and conflict. However, Message In A Bottle manages to not only maintain its sense of drama, but also to deliver a series of scenes that shimmer with emotional intensity.

The dancers certainly help. They are all quite wonderful, lending power and grace to Chakrabarti’s nuanced narrative and Prince’s meticulously choreographed sequences. 

I won’t need to tell you that the music is a triumph. Sting’s impressive and extensive songbook has never sounded better, with Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton) delivering some thrilling new arrangements of the master songwriters work. 

The songs are well chosen too, adding to and clarifying the narrative at numerous points in the production. 

Message In A Bottle will delight Katie Prince’s many fans and charm newcomers to the director.

The story of migrants lost in a cruel world of traffickers and detention centres is a moving one, and the story is perfectly performed by a talented cast of dancers.

Above it all, however, is the beautiful, timeless music of the rock star Sting. The artist’s songs have never sounded lovelier, and they enable Prince’s production to reach dizzying heights. Unmissable.

Katie Prince’s Message In A Bottle will be at the Peacock Theatre until the 25th of April 2020. More information about the production can be found here.

For information on other great dance productions in London, please click here.

-London's Best Events-
What: dance
When: Until 24 Apr 2020
Where: Peacock Theatre