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Musical Review Klein's Care convinces

A new musical about inclusion has the ring of authenticity about it, says PETER URPETH

ICA, London

SET in a typical care home for children, this new musical by dubstep artist Klein charts their discovery of a magical fantasy land beyond a disruptive care home environment.

It starts with staff threatening to separate two brothers for smoking weed and goes on to explore the tetchy relationship between bickering sisters Klein and Desola, the first to explore the newly discovered fantasy land beyond the home.

Emerging into a new world — a Narnia-like landscape — and dressed in rich period costumes, the two are joined in their adventure by the care home’s other girls and later by the care home staff. All finally reunite with the boys, whose generous gift of song to a now unified ensemble articulates the need for “balance.”

The group dance numbers in fantasy land draw on the traditions of childhood clapping and skipping games, But these have their ambivalence, highlighting the musical's exploration of the draining demands on younger people to conform.

The piece ends abruptly, leaving us in the new fantasy realm with no option of a return to reality and the impact of the children’s harsh everyday world on them.

Care represents another enthralling slice of Klein’s experimentation with distorted and jump-cut elements of electronica and gospel in all their engaging glory. The blending of free-flowing and ambiguous emotional layers, spiked with poignant sung phrases, are animated in this highly original ensemble piece.

It's the kind of work that is propelling the south London-based composer and producer to the very forefront of vital new music in Britain.

Another bonus in Klein’s musical is that, in exploring the significance of personal experience though an unfamiliar form that is nevertheless accessible and relevant to its audience, the issue of inclusion gets a new outlet.

It's definitely a work which deserves a wider viewing.




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