London Theatre Review: Message In A Bottle

Updated on 9 March 2020

It started as a PS at the foot of a long email sent by triple-Olivier Award nominee Kate Prince (Some Like It Hip Hop and SYLVIA at the Old Vic) – an idea for a show based on the music of 17-time Grammy Award-winning Sting. Now the new dance-theatre show Message In A Bottle has entered its final weeks at the Piccadilly Theatre!

Produced by Sadler’s Well and Universal Music UK, with choreography from Kate Prince, Message In A Bottle tells the story of three siblings, Leto, Mati and Tana, thrown into a perilous journey from their war-torn home. Projections of waves jostle lifeboats, sand pours from overhanging and shadows are cast on stage to mirror movements and loom over the performances on stage.

The effects and lighting play beautifully with the music. It keeps the narrative strong in the mind as we descend from an attack on the quiet village of Bebko – heralded by a truly unsettling moment when lights flash and bombs reverberate from the back of the auditorium – and follow a band of refugees through lonesome foreign landscapes. There are moments that really chill the body and draw out the gooseflesh. Namely, a scene when balaclava-clad henchmen step down from the illuminated wings and cross the stage like stalking panthers – thuggish animals that never relent and hurl dancers in all directions and prowl at the edges of the stage.

The powerful union of narrative and music helps to propel the dancers of ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, all with varying musical styles and individual personalities. Each performer in the international company is given time to shine and room to flex their athleticism. The sense of internal support is strong as the performers will each other on, from breakdancing to lyrical hip hop to more traditional dance. The whole thing evokes the feeling of talent feeding talent, and, of course, it is all backed by that deeply iconic music. Wait for the moment when a reunion plays out to Fields of Gold or the red-lit Roxanne steals the show - reminders of those iconic, heartfelt songs, brought to new life. No small wonder that Sting himself described his response to an early workshop as ‘very emotional’ - this is a unifying experience that's not to be missed!

Pick up Message In A Bottle tickets today from £42!

Don’t miss your last chance to catch this dance-theatre masterpiece – Message In A Bottle tickets are on sale now at London Theatre Direct!

Tagged as