Addictive Beat follows the musical partnership of best friends DJ ALX and singer/songwriter Robbi. In a Dawn King script that has plenty of exposition, we witness their meet cute, learn about LEGEND (the band they once had together), and the diverging paths they’ve proceeded to take. ALX follows self-professed artistic integrity as Robbi chases commercial success. As the duo reunites for a late-night jam session, a song is created that will redefine the term infectious.
The production is at its best during musical sequences bursting with creative choreography from Ira Mandela Siobhan that is exceptionally performed by the company. It is in these moments free from language that we watch unadulterated vulnerability and freneticism, a total giving over to the music.
Also on impressive display is the composition work of Dom Coyote and Anikdote who along with Jess Bernberg as lighting designer, evoke a strong sense of atmosphere (especially in the rave sequences), effectively contracting and expanding time.
The piece as a whole feels confused as to its own identity. Immersive isn’t exactly the description I’d give a show that spends so much time in flashbacks. It does reach a poignant climax, however, in its final moments. In an eleven o’clock number reminiscent of Sally Bowles from Cabaret, we see Robbi try to
belt her anguish away in a stunning rendition of Feeling Good. Boadicea Ricketts voice is on no better display than here with exquisite riffs demonstrating her incredible vocal talents. This is followed by Alex finally revealing the vulnerability he’s been sitting on, bottling up for the majority of the evening. Fionn Whitehead is dealt a difficult hand playing a repressed and depressed artist trying to find his way as a creative in a culture that prizes success above all else. At times, his performance dipped in terms of energy and connection with the audience. Ricketts in true Robbi fashion overflows with presence, charm, and front-footed engagement with her audience.
Part play, part rave, part cabaret, the piece as a whole is built on a less than sturdy foundation of story but in the hands of its talented actors, manages to hold the audience's attention.
The show runs until 7 October at Dilston Gallery, Southwark Park.
Photo: Harry Elletson Review: Matthew Pierce