3:06pm Friday 16th August 2013
INTERNATIONAL jazz and hip hop star Soweto Kinch is heading home to open Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s new auditorium The STUDIO, writes Steve Zacharanda.
The award winning musician is holding a staged performance of his critically acclaimed album The Legend of Mike Smith.
The album tells the story of a young MC’s search for fame and glory and was inspired by The Seven Deadly Sins and Dante’s Inferno.
Soweto will be accompanied by a company of musicians, actors and dancers to present the story of Mike Smith in what promises to be one of the cultural highlights of the year in Birmingham.
Soweto Kinch Speaking about using a 14th century poem as an inspiration for a modern story he said: “I took the elements of that world and higher catholic sin and contrasted it with a very modern concept of sin.
“I immersed myself in Dante’s Inferno, reading the book and listening to the audio book, to learn how the words sounded.
“I had to do this so I could write a rap song in old English, which was a first for me, using the words and phrases I had picked up from the book.”
And the Mobo winner is delighted to be performing the first show at the revamped Rep’s The Studio.
He said: “It is amazing I am the first person to perform at this new amazing space The Studio.
“I want to make the most of the staging options, there is going to be animation and visuals which takes it from being a conventional piece of theatre, a musical or a straight up hip hop and jazz concert, and be a mixture of all three.”
“I hope people are left scratching their heads thinking: “I don’t know what you’d call that, I want to see it again” and hopefully it will be the kind of show people will want to see again.”
After the Birmingham Rep run Soweto is taking the show to Deptford and then across the world.
The Legend of Mike Smith will be directed and choreographed by the pioneer of British hip hop culture and one of Soweto’s long-time collaborators, Jonzi D.
Joining them will be musicians Shane Forbes (drums) and Nick Jurd (bass), visual artist Nat Jones and costume stylist Mimi Fresh.
The Legend of Mike Smith is at The Studio at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from Thursday, September 12 to Saturday, September 28.
Tickets are £10 - £15 with concessions available and for more information visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk.
To hear Soweto Kinch talk about The Legend of Mike Smith log on to http://polaroidsandpolarbears.co.uk/interview-soweto-kinch.
Watch a trailer for the forthcoming show click here.
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