Blake Remixed Review: An absolute masterpiece

[Image courtesy of West Yorkshire Playhouse] 

Blake Remixed might not seem like everyone’s cup of tea. A world renowned Hip-Hop artist telling an autobiographical tale about how both Hip-Hop and poet William Blake have shaped and influenced his life? This might sound like it would only appeal to a niche audience – but it will undoubtedly move and inspire anyone who watches it.

Not only is the audience treated to staggering Hip-Hop performance by Testament, there is also live DJing by Scratch DJ World Champion DJ Woody. Also, throughout the performance, there are pre-recorded video projections of Hip-Hop artists Soweto Kinch, Ty, Jehst and Shlomo, representing William Blake’s The Four Zoas. Here comes the best part: these video projections are manipulated and remixed live by DJ Woody – creating an absolutely spell-binding effect that blew the audience away.


DJ woody

Image courtesy of


Testament interacts with the videos during the show, and carries the show alone. His witty and entertaining dialogue is a joy to watch as he tells tales from his childhood, his discovery of Christianity and his decision to pursue his dream of becoming a Hip-Hop artist. This is a tale of following dreams, never giving up and, ultimately, a tale of hope that ends beautifully. The ending, without spoiling it, was so moving and uplifting it brought a tear to my eye. In fact, there were several points throughout where I was simply overwhelmed by the talent and storytelling.

There is a clear plot and structure to the show, which I wasn’t expecting. The actual story is fantastic, and has all the highs, lows and in-betweens that come in “regular” theatre. To tell a strong story single-handedly so well, incorporating both heart breaking anecdotes and laud-out-loud moments, is a difficult task to master, but Testament does this perfectly. He is not just a Hip-Hop artist: he is a performer whose skills could challenge a top West End actor.



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Perhaps my over-enthusiasm for this piece comes from the fact that I wasn’t intending to enjoy it quite so much. The intimate venue and vague synopsis of the piece gave me the impression it may be an experimental, quirky type of piece that would leave me feeling confused rather than inspired. How wrong I was! Sure, it was experimental, but in the best way possible.

The set was perfect, using light and video projection against the backdrop to create stunning visuals. It goes without saying that the beatboxing and rapping were superb also, as was the overall sound and music.

The only slight downside for me was that I am not personally familiar with William Blake’s work, so it was difficult to fully admire and appreciate Blake Remixed. However, as the show is coming back in October, I have plenty of time to read up! I would advise anyone going to see the show to do a bit of Blake background reading.

It’s irrelevant if you are a fan of Hip-Hop, the theatre or William Blake. I think it would be a struggle to find anyone who couldn’t appreciate, even in a small way, the sheer genius of this work and the dedication and commitment from all those involved in the collaboration to create it.

Developed as part of West Yorkshire Playhouse Furnace Festival and Transform 2014, the show has been produced by West Yorkshire Playhouse and Littlemighty. The show is running 6th-29th August at Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe. If you can’t make the Fringe this year, don’t worry! Blake Remixed is returning to the West Yorkshire Playhouse 8th-10th October. Don’t miss out on this inspiring, innovative performance.

Sophie Joelle