REVIEW: Harlem Globetrotters combine comedy and class at Motorpoint Arena

The brilliant Hi-Lite Bruton having fun with the crowd. Copyright Barry Gossage Photography (Photo by Barry Gossage)
The brilliant Hi-Lite Bruton having fun with the crowd. Copyright Barry Gossage Photography (Photo by Barry Gossage)

I apologise in advance, but there is only one way to describe the appearance of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena — the show was a slam dunk!

Incredible gravity-defying basketball skills combined seemlessly with comedy timing to wow an audience that, disappointingly, wasn’t a complete sellout.

But for those who were in the ‘bleachers’ they were left in complete stitches once the show — attracting a good complement of kids during Easter half term — hit its stride.

The history of the showboating Globetrotters stretches back to the 1920s and what has evolved is a world-renowned exhibition team that manages to keep its act fresh but retains elements that fans of the franchise know and love.

And at Nottingham, the laughs had started long before the stars hit the temporary court — as kids took on a musical chairs competition with mascot Globie and then three unwitting adult audience members were cast into the spotlight and discovered they had put themselves forward for a dancing competition.

From the moment the ‘Trotters’ took centre stage for their game against the World Allstars (playing their role well as villains of the piece) the fun was cranked up.

The fact that the Globetrotters took the game by a handful of points with an emphatic dunk from the 6’6” Spider Sharpless at the death was rightly irrelevant on a night of terrific action.

At the centre of the piece was the ‘clown prince’ of the night, former Chigao Bull Hi-Lite Bruton, who pulled the strings brilliantly and led the audience interaction.

For me the clear highlight of the show was when the team — and the Allstars — went into rewind and then replayed a section of the game in slow motion with the ball replaced with a beach ball so it floated through the air. It was incredibly slick with added elements and the odd sly punch thrown in the background.

A Lion King moment played to the Circle of Life was also hilarious.....especially when the Trotters headed into the crowd and held aloft an unsuspecting child in a Simba-esque moment when the newborn is presented to the pride.

Audience members were repeatedly dragged onto court to play foil to the fun, including a moment when a man did his level best to keep up with Hi-Lite’s dancing before being hoisted into the air.

Not to forget the appearance of Big G, complete with inflatable head, throwing himself around the court like a mad man.

Add to that twerking, parts of the audience being soaked with water, the whole crowd performing YMCA and a player at one stage standing precariously on one of the hoops and you are only touching the tip of the iceberg.

Then, in the background, were phenomenal basketball skills — complete with the world’s only four-point shot line — performed at high pace from the likes of Cheese Chisholm, Too Tall Hall, Dragon Taylor, Jet Rivers, Animal Smith and TNT Lister (the only woman on the side). The recipe for entertainment was perfectly mixed.

A thoroughly entertaining night......those taking part hit nothing but net with their performance.