Dance is emotion through movements. Telling a story through dance is one of the highest forms of art and expression. The way it communicates to the audience is powerful and has the strength to assemble people to move in unison or cohesively. In the theatrical masterpiece, Message In A Bottle, dancers put in graceful motions the somber stories of yearning, loss, and hope. This show will give the audience a distinct perspective on multiple stories of refugees. With music from Sting, this spectacle is sure to move, comfort, and immerse those who will see it. Watch the critically acclaimed show at the Buell Theatre live on next year’s love month.
“Overall, though, this story of loving, losing and finding your way again is moving and hopeful.” – The Guardian
“Message in a Bottle remains ambiguous, but lifted by exuberant performances.” – Bachtrack
“Message in a Bottle manages to blur the lines between musical, play and dance. Storytelling at its best.” – Musical Manda
Behind this striking show is the pioneering choreography work by Kate Prince, who has been coming out with unique choreographies for West End and other prestigious events such as the 2012 London Olympics and the 2007 Tour De France. Her works are usually bubbly and upbeat, and she wanted to experiment with other compelling emotions. The acclaimed choreographer loves the music of Sting and has seen his concerts multiple times. One day, she had an idea to use Sting’s music for her new show and sent it to the legendary artist’s team. Months later, she pitched her idea to him and was gladly accepted. After this meetup, Sting decided to see Kate’s early workshops and was captivated by what she had accomplished after obtaining permission to make a pilot. The multi-Grammy award-winning music icon was happy about how the British choreographer’s work gave fresh views on his music.
“The response for me, it was very emotional and not just because I was honored that they were using my music to express something in there, but there was something happening in a deeper level of understanding or beyond understanding, but it was, it was moving me in ways I couldn’t quite interpret,” says Sting in the video interview of Sadler’s Wells.
Because of Sting’s long-standing advocacy for human rights and humanitarian sentiments, Prince pursued a story about the prevalent issues in migration and refugees from war-torn countries — themes that are appropriate to what she intended to realize. To perfect this, Sting added several extra vocalists and an incredible crew, too numerous to name, generating a terrific score.
“Each and every member performs with passion, commitment, and undeniable talent. They are not just dancers, but storytellers.” – Musical Manda
The story has its concept based on war-torn countries, refugees, and displacement. This includes the global level of how these struggles affect so many people in different parts of our world. Kate and Sting fundamentally try to delve deeply into human resilience but also attempt to humanize a story about refugees that many people are so detached from only seeing in the news about their stories.
In its beginning, the performers storm towards the stage, already showing excellent skills and energy, ready to showcase a moving show. Prince combines hip-hop, modern, and show dance to great success, alternating between ensemble work, duets, and solos with various hip-hop motifs. The story starts with a community of vivacious and joyful people dancing spiritedly. The merrymaking was then disrupted after shots of gunfire were heard. This was followed by the songs “Little Black Spot” and “How Fragile We Are” as the performance took a dark turn. A woman without a life jacket drowns in a storm as the group is forced to evacuate via water. When the survivors reach their destination, they are promptly jailed.
When the second act starts, the story divides into three stories; the first one is of a young woman who tries to integrate into a group; the second is of a man who falls in love with a local man; the third is of a guy who does his best to save his lover from working on the brothel. Along with Sting’s beloved songs, these stories took different twists and turns and ended on a high note.
With the help of Alex Lacamoire (known for his stellar work as the music arranger of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen), Sting’s music takes on a fresher note. “Every Breath You Take,” played as guards keep an eye on the inmates in a detention center, “Roxanne,” placed against a brothel background, and “Fields of Gold,” played in a scene reminding us of hope, are all examples of the deft usage of his music. Other singers, such as Beverly Knight and Lynval Golding, also lent their powerful vocals to the soundtrack to create voice variations.
Serving as the show’s dramaturg, playwright Lolita Chakrabarti puts out a story that is smooth sailing and cohesive. Her writing has ensured that the dancers can fully explore the emotions on the show. From the beginning to the end, the story transitions are certified seamless.
Obviously, the great hip-hop dancers are the show’s highlights. Each and every one of them. Their dynamic, energetic, acrobatic, and even gravity-defying moves powerfully express the characters’ emotions on a gloomy stage. Every move they make will enchant anyone who sees them.
“It’s the dancers you should see the show for: their energy and exuberance are unflagging and astonishing.” – TimeOut
Message In A Bottle had its West End world premiere on February 6, 2020, at the Peacock Theatre. However, due to the pandemic, the show was postponed. The show would then resume in September 2021.
Also postponed due to the pandemic was its supposed international tour. This year up until the following year, it is commencing visiting seven theatres, including Mayflower Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, Theatre Royal, MAAG, The Marlowe, The Lowry, and the Buell Theatre.
At the Buell Theatre, the show will run from February 13 to 25, 2024. Catch this live! You still have a long time to prepare. Clear your calendars on the said schedules and buy tickets before they sell out. To learn more about the show and to reserve your tickets, visit thebuelltheatre.com.