Same same . . . but different

The Patrick Centre

Birmingham Hippodrome


We are all the same yet all different is a common theme in life. It is what drives both diversity and inclusivity. We celebrate both our togetherness and our differences. It is what makes us human.

The Sonia Sabri Company in the shape of a man and two women, bring that theme to life in dance in this short family show aimed at children.

The same but different idea is there immediately to see, a man and women, in one way different yet in another all the same, dancers.

There is Mickael Marso Riviere, a French Breakin’ star, a celebrated  contemporary dancer and breakdancer, Laura VanHulle, Belgian born and a rhythmic gymnast and contemporary dance graduate and finally Aakanksha Rawat, from India, with a degree in business marketing and a Kathak classical Indian dance performer.

A trio with different backgrounds, different cultures and different training and disciplines but all with the same goal, dance.

We open with what can only be described as the dance of the duvet covers, one yellow, one blue and one . . . well a patchwork affair.

It is a very clever routine which had children mesmerised adults both fascinated and probably worried about what would happen to the bed linen on their return home.

Sonia Sabri talks about Same Same . . . But Different

As the dancers were revealed they feigned first shock at the sight of an audience then shyness as they tried to make friends which led to play and games, tickling being a favourite with children in the audience.

Then the girls tossed their hair around, a fun thing to do with their long pony tails, but more akin to head banging when short haired Mickael tried to copy them.

Part of the joke was for Mickael to try to follow the actions of the two girls, usually badly and comically - same but different again.

Other elements added variety, all appearing from within the duvet covers Mickael finding a guitar to add music while Aakanksha then showed her classical Indian background with Ghungroos, the bells on cords worn by classical Indian dancers.

She wore them first on her wrist, then her ankles and then, with Laura, around their waists

Alas Laura’s duvet cover was empty – cue aahs. But a search and unpicking of seams found a rhythmic gymnastics ribbon and a chance for her to show her training with a swirling display - which had a little girl near me on her feet, eyes and mouth wide open, and you could almost hear the addition being made to the mental birthday present list. (£5.99 on Amazon by the way).

We had elements of break dancing, of Kathak and of modern contemporary dance. There was movement, simple copying each other, chasing each other and even audience participation, all to a soundtrack of clarinet (Katie Stevens), harp (Sam Frankie Fox), tabla (Sarva Sabri) and beat box  (Shan Bansil).

Directed by Sonia Sabri it is a show which gives a different perspective to children in the art of storytelling without words, this being a series of ideas rather than a narrative.

As a show it is a little bit of a curate’s egg in that some parts children really liked, especially the more physical, visual moments such as the dancing duvets, the chasing and the tickling, others they watched with interest, and there were times when younger ones especially, started to lose interest until the next more physical bit came along. Same show, different ages, different bits, which somehow seems appropriate.

Co-commissioned by Birmingham Hippodrome  with a lovely performance by the engaging trio, it runs to 26-02-19.

Roger Clarke


Sonia Sabri Company will be taking over Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday, 30 March between noon and 5pm for Lok Virsa, a free one day family festival with arts, crafts, dance, music storytelling, workshops and pop-up performances.  

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