Boy Blue Entertainment BBE Touch at the Barbican review


Boy Blue Entertainment founders Mikey J and Kenrick Sandy were so close you could almost touch them…

Set in the Barbican’s Pit studio using a cabaret style to break down the invisible ‘fourth wall’ of theatre, Boy Blue Entertainment founders Mikey J and Kenrick Sandy were so close you could almost touch them…

“I do the dancing and he does the music” has been the same introduction Boy Blue founders Mikey J Asante and Kenrick Sandy have used to describe themselves to people in the briefest possible way. Whether their fault or the layman’s marketing pitch, the same approach can leave people thinking that’s all they do. Not so, in BBE: Touch, where they intended to detach any stigma as they developed as a company.

After 10 years, an Olivier Award Winning tour of Pied Piper and Mikey J producing music for highly acclaimed artists, it’s rare to Boy Blue’s founders doing something on stage, together, somehow managing to set aside what little time they had to lab up a massive 16 (by our count) acts.

At around two hours long BBE: Touch saw Kenrick and Mikey on top form but how you never see them: Two best friends showcasing what they do best, then having a go at trying each other’s talents themselves with varying and entertaining results. Picture Kenrick singing, or Mikey J dancing. Both moments that, unless you’re within Boy Blue’s inner circle, or regularly take a Boy Blue class, are personal traits you would never know about otherwise.

Personal was the approach they both took, acts seemlessly transitioning in and out through narrated videos about each other’s passion for dance and music and nostalgic slideshows, even throwing in a few bonuses like a technical contemporary duet and a full spoken word piece by Kenrick.

The tradition of stage has set a precedent of a technician pressing play and dancers dancing. With BBE: Touch the format was stripped bare with a full 360 degree view and any imperfections for all to see… if any.

In fact, seeing the action up close just amplifies how good they both are as artists, having worked hard to be leaders in their field for years.

Most of the music was mixed live by Mikey J with his mixing kit sat in the centre of the studio for him to mix the soundtracks live in front of the audience, even revisiting the Boy Blue Collabo 2011 set. Picture the video below (similar moves, same song), but with someone building the beat up in the video too:

Video: Kenrick Sandy Collabo 2011 set

Twists on the live mixing format included a Beardyman-inspired use of taking vocal samples from the audience an mixing them as freshly brewed tracks.

BBE: Touch rose above the box of choreographer and musician and presented them as artists, breaking free of commercial commitments and doing what they wanted to do.

It’s the Boy Blue Entertainment you rarely get to see, and with pressure on artists to be skilled in different disciplines you’ll be amazed at how many both their founders are blessed with.

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