Blak Whyte Gray at HOME Mcr

I talk a fair bit about the immersive experience. Sometimes the sheer sight of the word in blurb about a play, exhibition, any piece of art sends a shiver down my spine as to what exactly it could lead to.

Boy Blue’s Blak Whyte Gray does not advertise itself as immersive. Yet it was in a really really good way.

How so?

The pumping, thumping, pounding bass of the music hit you in the sternum throughout, causing the senses to jerk and pulsate in synchronicity with the bodies on stage.

Credit: Carl Fox

The ‘bodies’, of course, being the dancers who form part of the collective of the hip hop dance company Boy Blue.

After a world tour they returned to Manchester and I’m glad they did as I missed them the first time.

The time is right to ask questions, to break free from a system that isn’t working, to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to roots, a celebration of culture.

From the opening act of three performers, bedecked in…not quite straitjackets but the inspo was clear, devoid of colour, robotic as though operated by an invisible being… (I think my reading of that being, erm, being the constraints of society, is none too deep or dramatic), the opening choreography cried oppression.

And as the show progressed, the dancers increased, as did the tempo, the lighting, the fierceness as we moved through to stages that spoke to me as the kickback, empowerment and finally celebration and take-back.

Musically, choreographically it was thrilling and powerful. Aesthetically it was beautiful, with use of projection, uv lighting, body paint and those pesky little props that screamed death mask to me, as they lowered then hung ominously above the dancers. I doubt a night will go by where I don’t see them in my dreams (cheers).

Sounds surreal? Definitely a ‘you have to be there’.

In fact you do have to be there.

The wonderfully diverse, all-ages audience last night, were united in their appreciation as we all gave the standing ovation that the dancers richly deserved.

And you have chance to see Blak Whyte and Gray for yourself, with performances tonight and tomorrow at Manchester’s HOME.

For more details and to purchase tickets for 21/22 October, visit

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