Saturday 29 December 2018

Play: serious business for Aracaladanza

Play: serious business for Aracaladanza

Yesterday I saw the premiere of the new show by Aracaladanza at Madrid’s Teatros del Canal. The title is Play and the show is marketed at a family audience. The marketing obviously worked, since the large theatre was full of small children with their parents. The show itself also worked, since the children of all ages were engaged and entertained by this varied and well paced show.

Aracaladanza’s director is Enrique Cabrera and his title is aptly chosen. This 55 minute show features 5 dancers in numerous costume changes and easily managed props including sliding sofas, inflatables and dayglow frisbees. Technolgy is a major feature, with attractive and varied images projected on a screen made of dismountable panels which become elements in the choreography. The video sequences were designed by Álvaro Luna.

The dancers are Jorge Brea, Raquel de la Plaza, Jonatan de Luis, Elena García and Jimena Trueba. I agreed with my friend Kitty that the women shone in their solos: their beautiful execution and wonderfully expressive faces were a joy to watch.

My friend John O’Brien, choreographer and tap legend, was responsible for the Dogs segment of the show. The dancers wore dog head masks and tapped away and brought applause from the audience. It was clearly a high point in the show.

I very much enjoyed the original music by Luis Miguel Cobo: it was varied and had a contemporary feel. There was a lovely piece of Chinese themed music too. I am not so sure about including fragments of Bach and Tchaikovsky. It’s a big ask to place your music side by side with these giants. Why not keep it 100% original?

This show is a co-production with the Teatros del Canal (Madrid), Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre, the Madrid Regional Government, Sadler’s Wells (London) and the Festival Grec 2019 (Barcelona).

This is a very entertaining show, which is extremely well packaged and with excellent performers. It is so successful because in every detail, Aracaladanza take their Play very seriously.