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Syncing Ink

From 15 critic and 22 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious, Clever

About the show

The Flea presents a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about a high-school student's pursuit of freestyle rap. The play is told largely in freestyle, working off audience prompts rather than scripted text. More…

Gordon wants to learn how to rap, thinking it will gain him respect, admiration, and the attention of a beautiful woman. What he doesn’t know is that his journey will take him not just deeper into hip-hop, but also his legacy and his purpose. Based on true events, NSangou Njikam's play leads us on a lyrical voyage to discover what it really takes to freestyle.

Applause! Applause!

“This musical crossover of hip-hop expands on the stylistic innovations of ‘Hamilton’ to demonstrate the power of this uniquely American subculture (Hip Hop) to create personal, emotional impact. This play features love, rivalry, failure, and redemption. The absolute fantastic meter soars in this play due to the accomplishments of the actors. Their combined ability to dance in complex break dancing moves as well as to change character brought the whole thing together seamlessly.” Full Review

New York Theatre Review

“How can a show be so good?!...How can a play be a dance party, a rap battle and at the same time- an intimate story about a son learning to grow up...A theatre spectacle in a hip hop cipher that never stops or falters...The show moves at a lightning pace as it bounces from sketch comedy to religious rites and personal stories...There are not enough praiseworthy words to heap on the ensemble of performers/rappers/dancers/singers/freestylers.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Even more impressive than the written script is the fact that much is unscripted. The actors freestyle rap many significant parts, creating something new and different each night, pushing the boundaries of what musical theatre can be. It is through this combination of oral and written verse that Njikam honors both the African and the American styles of storytelling...What NSangou Njikam has created runs far deeper than a hip hop musical—Njikam has created a masterpiece." Full Review


"The ensemble is absolutely adept with spoken word dexterity, wonderfully surprising versatility in the various characters they played, fantastic range in their dancing, fluent in every language of rap...I cannot express enough how impressed I am with Njikam’s writing...The original, interesting, and funny characters he created while telling truths about his experience, makes 'Syncing Ink' an experience you have to see for yourself. I honestly hope you do." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“The show…is nearly two hours and 40 minutes long and stuffed with crude banalities. That doesn't stop if from dancing through the night with such ebullience and talent that nothing could be easier than to forgive its various faults…Technically, the show couldn't be better…Smith's staging…is a master class in theatrical creativity; each move and gesture is rhythmically calibrated…There are few Off-Broadway ensembles as remarkably multitalented and charismatic as this one.” Full Review

The Reviews Hub

"The play’s connection with Yoruban folklore combined with the rhythm of its music and rhymes makes for engaging theater...Although 'Syncing Ink' manages to be powerful and fun at the same time, the last third of the play has fairly predictable beats. Of course, the ending is sweet and touching and the music makes you want to stick around to dance, so there’s really not much to complain about." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Blends hip-hop and West African performance traditions into a new and exciting theatrical form...'Syncing Ink' seamlessly incorporates music and dance into a cohesive structure that feels all its own. Hip-hop here is spiritual, elemental, and integral to the play’s world: It’s in the language, the physicality, the architecture. Every movement seems like part of a larger whole, as though the characters were navigating a shared rhythm. And when they rap, it has the urgency of life and death." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A rush of invention and youthful high spirits...It's a messy, ambitious piece, with no shortage of flaws, but they pale in comparison with the wit and originality on display, not to mention its celebratory, wide-angle vision of African American culture...Under Niegel Smith's direction, too much is barely enough, and just about everybody goes over the top from time to time, sometimes undercutting the fun with excess energy...Then again, Smith has elicited strong performances from everyone." Full Review


"The story 'Syncing Ink' tells is rather thin and the characters never progress beyond the one-dimensional...As sheer spectacle, 'Syncing Ink' is often exhilarating...Above all, Njikam's show offers a brilliant display of the physical and vocal prowess of its performers, all of whom make memorable impressions with their distinctive characters. 'Syncing Ink' is the equivalent of a less-than-great album with just enough great singles to make the experience still worthwhile." Full Review

The New York Times

"Unfortunately, Mr. Njikam’s lyrics don’t have the wit or verbal dexterity of their old-school influences, and the story bogs down, despite flashes of satirical inspiration...What matters here is not the predictable destination, but how we get there...The show has an infectious energy and benefits from a superb cast that rises to the athletic hip-hop choreography by Gabriel Dionisio, a.k.a. Kwikstep." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Though comic, with touches of social satire, 'Syncing Ink' is a touching depiction of a sensitive adolescent’s efforts to 'reach down to the recesses of [his] recesses' for self-understanding and artistic expression...'Syncing Ink' comes close to being an overdose of hip-hop high jinks, but it managed to sustain interest. Principal credit for that goes to Smith and Gabriel 'Kwikstep' Dionisio for the high-velocity direction and choreography, respectively, and to the six sprightly cast members." Full Review


"Dynamically presented and euphorically performed...It’s simultaneously exhilarating and wearying...Njikam offers a witty take on the classic mythology of a hero’s episodic journey with a lively African-American slant...Director Niegel Smith and choreographer Gabriel 'Kwikstep' Dionisio’s collaboration results in a thrilling unison of movement and dance. The cast is all over the four-sided, relatively bare playing area, magnificently dancing and perfectly placed throughout." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"The outcome won’t be revealed, because the resolution is too obvious to waste time on...The cast members spout abundant challenge hip-hop, often melting into Gabriel 'Kwikstep' Dionisio’s tough choreographic patterns that show off their movement prowess—prowess that’s extensive and impressive...It’s so spirited that it rouses audience to various responses...I admired many of the 'Syncing Ink' elements." Full Review

Regal Mag

for a previous production “A play that is hip-hop to its core with no apologies for its rawness or blackness…One of the most creative plays to come out in a long time. Do not be surprised to see it soon on Broadway because it is just that remarkable. The cast was selected perfectly and the songs that provide the soundtrack will be music to any true hip-hop head’s ears...The entire cast shines…Except for a few botched lines, the cast put on a flawless performance.” Full Review


for a previous production “The story is textbook but the rap is the real deal…A tremendously talented cast…‘Syncing Ink’ takes a well-worn narrative arc and for the first half of the show breathes fire into it by virtue of the music which neither dumbs down for a novice audience nor condescends to the initiated. We love these characters and their rhymes enough to squirm through the oddly circuitous second act and come out cheering full throttle for an ending that we know is too neatly tied up in a pretty bow.” Full Review

Ambitious, Absorbing, Refreshing, Must see, Masterful

See it if You like rap, like shows with modern commentary

Don't see it if You don't like strobe light, or smoke

Absorbing, Must see, Enchanting, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You love a good coming of age story told in a one-of-a-kind way that mixes hip-hop, dance, and the hero's journey to create total theater.

Don't see it if You don't like having a good time.

Funny, Great acting

See it if You wanna see one of the best ensembles acting right now.

Don't see it if You're afraid of participation.

Also I don't get why they talk shit about Trap Music. Though amazingly acte... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Masterful, Must see

See it if you like rap, spoken word, hip-hop and incredible high-frequency performances.

Don't see it if you don't like audience participation or loud music.

Resonant, Refreshing, Masterful, Great writing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see one of the strongest and most hardworking ensembles, you want a personal story told in a unique way

Don't see it if you don't want to be bombarded with a lot of words, you aren't familiar or at least have a working exposure of rap or black culture

Entertaining, Great singing, Refreshing

See it if Enjoy hip-hop music and high energy. Setting is in a high school with teenage rivalries. Audience participation and enthusiasm.

Don't see it if You dislike loud hip-hop music. The show is 2 1/2 h w/15 min intermission. Foul language and sexual connotations.

Also The Flea Theater is in a wonderful new venue and is attracting a young... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great singing, Great staging, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy rap, great performances, fun and clever insight into hip hop culture.

Don't see it if you dislike loud music and stories that are more fable and formulaic than realistic.

Clever, Slow, Quirky, Energetic, Fluffy

See it if Lots of upbeat rap music and dancing. Talented, energetic cast. Impressive finale.

Don't see it if Story progresses in obvious ways and bogs down in the middle. Boring dialog.

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Hilarious, Intelligent

See it if You want your face blown off with great theater.

Don't see it if You hate having your face blown off.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You are looking to see a new and innovative type of theatre and are going to the theatre for fun/a good time!!

Don't see it if You are scared of something new or looking for a quiet nap.

Entertaining, Ambitious, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Very tightly woven drama. Loved the scenery particularly the high tech scenery used throughout the show. Leads were fantastic!

Don't see it if You like big musical productions!

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great acting, Epic

See it if you love rap, music, spoken work, amazing actors, amazing movers, great story telling,

Don't see it if Hate rap music and intimate theater spaces.

Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you like smart shows that make you think

Don't see it if you don't like to be challenged

Ambitious, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if You appreciate originality and masterful lyrics. Acting is also phenomenal. Most of the actors are on stage the entire show.

Don't see it if I can't find anything bad to say about it. Its a show everyone should see.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Funny

See it if you like hip hop or want to learn more about hip hop. Great love story

Don't see it if you hate minor audience interaction.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Must see

See it if Love old school hip-hop, love to laugh, love good acting, love good choreography, love to root for the under dog, you want to learn history.

Don't see it if You hate to be entertained.

Relevant, Refreshing, Great writing, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You want to see something different,if you like/love hip hop, if you enjoy great writing, you want to have a fun time around a circle stage

Don't see it if You don't like hip hop.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Entertaining

See it if Love music, dance, energy, small venues,

Don't see it if Can't imagine anyone not loving this

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great acting

See it if Love the art of storytelling!

Don't see it if You don’t love a good time

Absorbing, Entertaining, Hilarious, Great acting, Must see

See it if Are looking for a really compelling and funny show. Great audience engagement (without feeling intimidated to participate).

Don't see it if You are a stuffy funhating person

Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Refreshing

See it if you love the beauty of hip-hop culture, innovative staging and sound art, humor, simple and compelling storytelling

Don't see it if you're sensitive to cursing (there are a few f-bombs in the second half)

During previews
Entertaining, Relevant, Resonant, Must see, Clever

See it if You're a big fan of the hip-hop genre, a history buff, or just like to be entertained by pure talent. You must see this!

Don't see it if You are not willing to sit, have a good time, and learn about some relevant issues.

Cast & Creatives (15)