Theatre review: Noise Boys, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

Pure-bred brilliance

Noise Boys, Assembly George Square (Venue 8). Picture: Alistair Linford
Noise Boys, Assembly George Square (Venue 8). Picture: Alistair Linford

Noise Boys, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh * * * * *

The slam of tap shoe on wood, the buzz of pursed lips against microphone and the deep pulse of deft fingers plucking at strings – these boys know how to make a noise worth listening to.

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Four tap dancers, two beatboxers and two musicians, each with top notch credentials, have been recruited for this show. They’re the ‘Boys’ of the title, with wonderful rapper/narrator RoxXxan the lone female.

They’re all working in a box-filled warehouse, staving off the monotony of filling and shipping boxes by being creative. Tap dancers Alex Larder, Matt Jordan, Adam Hilton and Benjamin Ash are fascinating to watch. Not just because of their lightning-fast footwork and technical agility, but because even when they’re executing the same step, they have their own unique style.

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Sometimes they create their own noise, occasionally they’re backed by the band, but it’s the ‘battle’ between the tappers and the beatboxers that really flies. Then again, every sound that Hobbit (beatbox champion) and Joel Fishel (X Factor finalist) produces is pure gold.

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Whether it’s Hobbit making a fool of his colleague by soundtracking their every move – dragging a table, drinking a glass of water – or multi-talented Fishel accompanying his own beatboxing on keyboard and guitar, the layers of music they make with their mouths is astounding.

Holding it all together, with powerful political comment and personal poignancy, rapper RoxXxan could stand to have a little more to do in the show, but when she’s there, she’s on fire. Written by Rob Broderick (aka Abandoman) and choreographed by Tap Dogs’ Douglas Mills, Noise Boys has a pedigree so fine, it could bark.

Until 25 August