By Patrick Christiano
Canadian hip-hop theater artist Baba Brinkman has returned to the SoHo Playhouse with The Canterbury Tales Remixed, following a successful run at the theater this past fall of his The Rap Guide to Evolution. In his current hip-hop show Binkman, who has toured his work worldwide including the Edinburgh Fringe, directs an assorted mix of three of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales interwoven with some pieces of the epic poems, Gilgamesh and Beowulf. The resourceful evening is a shrewd blending of hip hop and poetry for a clever effect. Unfortunately the huge video background competes with his performance almost dominating the proceedings.
Wearing a pair of jeans and a hoddie Brinkman is a commanding presence in action as roams the stage and moves up the aisle into the audience displaying an energetic bold flair that gets all the moves right and looks good. He often interacts with his frequent collaborator DJ Jamie Simmonds, who has created the music for the evening, displaying a strong link with the DJ, but without making similar solid connections to the spectators. The work is engaging and clever without ever being theatrical. Skillful as he is Brinkman’s show remains little more than a smart, witty and extremely knowledgeable demonstration of the parallels between the worlds of hip-hop music and literary poetry.
The Canterbury Tales Remixed is playing at the SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, between Sixth Avenue and Varick Street through January 29. Performances are Wednesday to Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 3 pm, 7:30; Sunday at 3pm. For tickets call 866-811-4111.|
Photography: Ben Hider
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