In an inner-city hostel, Jams is trying to record a rap video. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, however, as he has to deal with Elz, Toni and Jaime. It's a fantastic start to a fantastic show. All of its characters feel thoroughly real and understandably flawed. Toni is struggling with addiction, Elz and Jams want to become professional rappers, and Jaime just wants to go to church. Rapsody exposes the reality of life for underprivileged young people, and shows the impact of small acts of kindness between them. This is all facilitated through rap.
A clever exploration of the importance of rap to inner city communities in dealing with injustice and trauma
The main draw of this production is its integration of rap music written for the show. This is completed flawlessly, and by far provides the best moments in the play, creating connections between its characters. The raps are well-written, creative and act as a form of expression for its characters where nothing else feels possible. They rap about systemic injustices, personal trauma, and for some, self-indulgence. My favourite would have to be Jaime’s rap about church corruption, which has the best emotional development. In these raps, each of the four actors truly shines, and I wish this confidence and energy in performance could be carried through for Toni and Jaime to other parts of the production. Regardless, Jaime’s description of addiction is performed brilliantly.
Jams and Elz are the best written characters outside of the raps, and their characterisation is fantastic. Elz’s bravado is perfectly captured by his physicality and voicing, and he provides the majority of the humour through his inadequacy and eccentric mannerisms. It would be nice to see more variation and vulnerability from him, however. Jams equally has a macho and cheeky exterior, though his moments of tenderness really endear us to him.
The only problem with the show is its ending. It came so unexpectedly, at a time of high tension and left us questioning what the consequences would be and the fates of these characters we have grown so attached to. Audience members were unsure about when to clap until one of the cast members said “thank you”. The relationships between these characters are so interesting and well formed, and I for one wanted the play to continue for just another ten minutes.
This is a must-see not solely for fans of rap. The music is powerful, topical and feels so important in the story. This show has so much potential and I, for one, cannot wait to see how it develops.