ELEPHANT South African redemption tale 0...
Elephant is one of those collaborative ventures that makes the Fringe so special. A coming together of seven lilUSlClallS. dancers and actors from Newcastle theatre company. Dodgy Clutch. and eight from the Market Theatre. Johannesburg. Rehearsed in England and South Africa over a two year period. the resulting show is lively. imaginative and uplifting.
Standing at the gates of heaven. the recently departed Chief Zanenvula is refused entry. deSpite his pOpuIarity on earth. Told by his ancestors to retrace his steps and discover what went wrong. Zanenvula embarks on a comic yet pOignant jOllflle back to his childhood. Seemineg an altercation With the eponymous animal put him On the wrong track. and it's time for atonement. Cue a heartbreaking moment With mother and baby elephant puppets. both beautifully crafted.
Crossing not only two continents. but genres and generations. Elephant is accessible and fun storytelling. Blending traditional African music and dance With more contemporary movement and song. this show is worth a look for the elephants alone. (Kelly Apter)
I George Square Theatre. 662 8740. until 28 Aug. 2.45pm, £70 £98).
FLAMENCO FUSION/ FLAMENCO CON FUSION Double celebration of Spanish music and dance
The Setithern Spanish art of Flamenco is a major attraction at this year's Fringe. Flamenco FilSion to... l is everything you would want from an introduction to the form — pasSionate. exuberant and intimate. Against the informal atmosphere of the Bongo Club. Mosaico Flamenco — guitarist. singer. cellist and two dancers — create a celebraIOry atmosphere out of the bare minimum of accoutrements. There are indiVidual segments in which to ENJOY the Virtuoso performances of the muSicians. the unrestrained passion of the ‘cante' or to savour the preCise footwork and sensual movement of the bane. while the quintet also work
together to Create. by turns. dramatic. upbeat or tragic moods.
Less immediately crowd—pleasing. but no less enJOyable. is Ricardo GarCia y La Familia Flamenca's Flamenco Con Fusion at C Venue to... l. GarCia is a master of the 'Guitarra' form. and shows off his playing dexterity in the solo ‘Allegria' and other numbers. The warmth and depth of the guitar is augmented by tabla to accompany various inventive dance movements. including an intimate interaction between dancers and Silhouettes. and an exhilarating dance—off between the arrogant innocence of youthful hip hop and the wisdom and experience of flamenco. (Allan Radcliffe)
I Flamenco Fusion, Bongo Club. 557 2827. until 29 Aug, times vary. £79 (57/. Flamenco Con Ft/S/on, C. 0870 70] 5705. until 29 Aug, 7. 75pm, £9.50 ($650—$860).
Sexual politics, Argentinean style 0...
Tango Fire is pitched as the “history and Culture of Tango'. from its formative days in the brothels of Buenos Aires to present day. In truth. it's a sophisticated cabaret show. and those Without prior knowledge of Tango Will come out none the Wiser. But lovers of the Latin American dance and music style Will be in their element.
La Quartada Tango was formed by double bass player Claudio Canestrari. Together With a pianist. Violinist and accordion player, he shows the many faces of contemporary tango. Fusing iaz7. claSSical and traditional South American sounds. the band fan the flames of the increasingly passionate dancers before them.
The two couples perform Without any pretence at Subtlety or innuendo — this is foreplay on the dancefloor. Wearing high split cocktail dresses. feather boas and fishnets. the two women press up against their sharp-Suited partners seductively. Knee pints move at lightning guick speed. as the couples intertWine legs to the driVing rhythm. while a closnig duet. peppered With high lifts and sudden drops. proves JUSI how versatile modern Tango can be in the right hands. (Kelly Apteri I St George '8 West. 226 2428. until 29 Aug, 7.30pm (15 8 22 matinee 4pm). fl 14713 ([10).
NEXT ISSUE OUT WEDNESDAY 24 AUGUST
Novel approach to contemporary dance
Clearly French choreographer-director Francois Verret has a thing for literature. Chantier-Musil, the intriguing, if hardly user-friendly, production his company brought to the 2003 Festival, was based on a complex three-volume novel by Austrian writer, Robert Musil. Verret has now turned to William Faulkner for inspiration.
Contrecoup, Verret’s latest opus, was inspired by the great American author’s gnarly 1936 novel Absalom, Absalom! Faulkner’s quintessentially Southern family saga is told by several characters who support, correct, contradict and take over from each other. ‘You can’t know exactly what is the truth,’ Verret says, ‘but you have to accept the necessity of each voice.’ Faulkner’s sombre, elegiac work has been described as ‘a terrible Gothic sequence of events, dredged up fragment by fragment’, with long paragraphs whose dense sentences ‘challenge and plague and puzzle and dazzle’.
Contrecoup is a very oblique, fractured adaptation of its haunting content and style. Verret maintains that his impressionistic, non-linear approach renders prior knowledge of the book unnecessary. ‘You don't need to know or follow a narrative, or to rationalise every moment. It’s more a question of feeling than understanding. I want the spectator to be lost sometimes. It gives a new possibility to discover something.’ But, as he admits: ‘I don’t know what exactly.’ Verret, whose on and offstage collaborators may come from theatre, dance, music or circus backgrounds, is unconcerned about categorising his work. ‘I don’t describe it,’ he says. ‘I do it.’ This attitude is reflected in the freedom with which he assembles text, image, sound, design, movement and gesture into a theatrical whole. ‘l’m a catalyst trying to build with these elements. It’s a crossing between different arts. All have equal importance.’
What attracted Verret to Faulkner? ‘I like the rhythm and musicality of his language, and the dramatic choices he made to talk about the South and Southern madness.’ He is, however, hard-pressed to identify the hour-long performance’s underlying theme. ‘Faulkner said that going to hell is the secret aspiration of human beings. Contrecoup is my vision of a family’s process of self-destruction, and my subjective impression of his kingdom.’ (Donald Hutera)
I Edinburgh Playhouse. 473 2000. Fri l5) 6: Sat 20Aug. 8pm. 5‘6—l‘l5.
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