Message in a Bottle – REVIEW

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Message in a Bottle - Sting's songs put to award winning dance

So whilst this year has seen concert movies from Taylor Swift and Beyonce caterwauling their way through a back catalogue of immediately forgettable songs its worth remembering that there are long established artists whose songs have stood the test of time over a number of decades and to that end its Geordie warbler Sting and former front man of early 1980’s supergroup The Police whose songs were set to dance by acclaimed choreographer Katie Prince in her stage show, Message in a Bottle.

Sting’s back catalogue of hits are brilliantly used as accompaniment to Prince’s assembled dance troupe and received its world premiere at Sadler’s Wells West End venue just before the pandemic in 2020. Since then it has toured internationally to huge acclaim and now for the first time Sadlers Wells has filmed one of its productions in partnership with the Royal Opera House.

Message in a Bottle is released at a pertinent time with its imagined story about a family under siege fleeing for survival. The story of the parents and their three children is illustrated in, at times, emotional interpretive dance to Sting’s songs. And whilst ‘Every breathe you take’ (actually about a divorce  that Sting was going through) is easily and obviously appropriate for the story, other songs like Roxanne seem less obvious but here they are adapted seamlessly into the narrative. This is not Sting’s greatest hits set to music as there are a number of far less well known songs here but all naturally lends themselves to the subject matter.

Like so many stage shows Message in a Bottle never escapes its theatrical origins performed as it is to a multi camera set up on a soundstage apart from a lone 360 steadicam shot but the musical interpretation of the imagined story are perfectly aligned with its mix of contemporary movement that takes in street dancing to more classic styles it is often moving and ultimately uplifting

Related feature ; Former dancer Sarah Alexandra Marks talks about her role in supernatural thriller, ‘Witch’

Related feature : Matilda the Musical plus our chat with Andrea Riseborough

Here’s the Message in a Bottle trailer…….

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