With the Eurovision Song Contest just around the corner, it was nice to get an early dose of sequins and inflammable costumes at last night’s Chase The Dream press night. Britain’s Got Talent finalists and UK Street Dance Champions Flawless created a teenage frenzy with what seemed a thinly veiled tribute to that biggest of dance icons, Michael Jackson.
As the name suggests, Flawless are at the Peacock theatre to spread an energetic mission statement that we should all believe we can do anything and follow our wildest dreams. Well boys, if we could all spin on our heads, moonwalk like Jacko and pull off a white bejazzled Stetson like you we might be so idealistic too.
Cynicism – and for that read jealousy – aside, their enthusiasm is infectious and, aided further by the rows of 15-year-old girls screaming whenever a vest is lifted higher than strictly necessary, Chase The Dream is a two hour guilty pleasure, filled to the brim with gasps of disbelief as the 10 dancers perform one inhuman feat after another.
Hip-hop is mixed with break dance, contemporary, jazz and even ballet as the troupe performs a series of routines, many of which are clearly inspired by Jackson’s eclectic music videos and more of which are set to his music. Thriller makes an obvious appearance but is updated by Flawless’s acrobatic wizardry and a slightly more revealing red leather jacket, and a tribute to Jim Carey film The Mask is combined with a Smooth Criminal inspired gangster number.
Other routines tackle themes or stories that rely on a video projector and mega mix soundtrack ranging from James Brown, Usher and Sting – yes there is a place in street dance for Shape Of Your Heart – which keeps the momentum going as strongly as the dancers’ relentless energy. Surprisingly, Flawless feature a number of dated influences, with The Matrix, rubik cubes and a boom box all making appearances. But the audience, primarily made up of teenagers too young to remember CD players, let alone tape decks, seem happy to go with it, although whether parents will be as happy with the references to gangs and the occasional gun popping up is less clear.
Proving that only boy bands and anyone who can spin on their head – ergo ridiculously cool people – can pull off crystal studded white suits and matching Stetsons, Flawless have a wardrobe even Take That would be proud to call their own, working their way through everything from shiny astronaut suits to tracksuits.
But for all the glitter and colour, Flawless need not rely on anything more than their own personalities – ranging from too cool for school to group clown – and their impressive skills which, when shown together, make them appear to be controlled by one communal puppeteer, to keep the audience rapt.