Sunday, February 03, 2008


'4ISH' disappoints

On the way out of the Saturday morning production of ‘4-ISH,’ Alex Berko (12), the oldest of the “Kid Reviewers” who accompany me to child-friendly productions said, “I’d give them a 7 out of 10, but they could have been much better.” He went on to explain that he thought “the dancing was great” and the “inline skating fun,” but there was “a lack of cohesion to the program.” He also thought the “humor was over-the-heads of the younger kids in the audience.” His brother Ian (8) chimed in that he “liked a lot of it, but he thought there were too many pauses and that lost his attention.” As a karate kid he liked the kung fu.

From my perspective, the boys were right on!

‘4-ISH,” is advertised as a pulse-racing show which fuses extreme sports with hip-hop dance that creates a new breed of entertainment. The group, which is from Amsterdam, does perform spectacular feats on the two giant quarter pipes. This added to kung fu action and dancing roller skaters with electrified wheels, which create a whirling light show on a pitch black stage, opens the possibility for a spectacular show. However, there appears to be a disconnect between all the action and how it is formatted into a program.

On Friday night the performance was attended by high school students and some twenty-somethings. Following the concert there was a get-together for the attenders where the cast taught break-dancing and interacted with the party-goers. It was probably a better fit between performers and audience than the mostly very young kids and their parents and grandparents who attended the Saturday morning show.

In past years, 4ISH has been in a teaching residence at Play House Square, but this is the first time that they have been featured as performers. Since there was no printed program, I don’t know who is responsible for the development of the presentation, but whoever it is, should probably ask what he wants the audience to take away from the show. It would also be wise for the host agency to make sure that young children are not brought to performances.

Capsule judgement: ‘4-ISH’ had the potential to excite and delight an audience. As is, it was entertaining, but not up to its potential.