Note: This review is from the 2018 Fringe

Direct from Tokyo, Wasabeats Crew present the European premiere of Break Free, featuring champion break dancers, each with world titles, who carve up the floor to reach dizzying new heights.

A family-friendly show, if you ignore one of the rather inappropriate music tracks with swear words, features six world-class urban dancers, including Artistic Director and former winner of the UK Breakdance Championship, Go Ueki.

Set to a grating, thumping industrial noise soundtrack, Break Free uses a rather loose story to showcase the Crew’s breathtaking dance skills and tricks. Five dancers are imprisoned due to a dancing ban. As they attempt to escape by trying to fool the strict police officer, the story gives them the opportunity to showcase their skills.

There are elements of genius and there’s no doubting their impressive urban dance skills and displays of strength and perfect timing. In one particularly impressive scene using mirrors, the break dancers reflect back each other’s moves as they move from one mirror to┬áthe next. But Break Free takes time to warm up and the story-line doesn’t really work – their skills would have been just as impressive on their own and their self-congratulating is annoying.

There are some impressive displays of skill including Aichi Ono, world’s fastest head-spinner according to Guinness World Records, who can manage a dizzying 135 spins in one minute. But the toilet humour, which literally uses a toilet bowl and a spinning dancer who headspins as toilet roll is wrapped around him, is lost on me.

A fast-paced and high energy show with impressive dance skills and timing, it is just a shame it took so much time to get going.