PACO PENA FLAMENCO DANCE COMPANY Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 21-Sat 23 Nov
‘Wherever there’s a fresh creative eye,’ Peco Pena said in a recent interview, ‘that has to be an asset.‘ The master guitarist was referring to British theatre director Jude Kelly, until lately the founder and guiding light of West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. The two have joined forces on Voces y Ecos (Voices and Echoes) with sensational results.
Kelly, a self-confessed, London- based flamenco virgin, helped put this new show together in Seville. She spoke no Spanish, the company no English. Yet somehow both sides communicated exactly what was necessary. ‘Flamenco operates at a most sophisticated Ievel,’ says Kelly, ‘but anyone can take part.’
Tracing the development of Spain’s national music and dance form from hearthside to café to concert stage to contemporary rehearsal studio, the production is top-notch in every department.
DEVISED PRODUCTION A LITTLE FANTASY
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 19—Sat 23 Nov
It used to be the internet was the only place where your fantasies COuId be fully explored Without mutual embarrassment or arrest. Now. theatre company Told by an Idiot proves that the theatre is still an arena for fantaSy With its darkly comic tale of two women and
the mayhem-ridden world they inhabit.
'lt began With an idea featuring two characters meeting by acCident. and ending with one of them being left alone on a beach.‘ says Jed Simmons. one of the motley crew behind A Little Fantasy. ‘Then we drew inspiration from the writer Flannery O'Connor. whose gothic post-war s'non stories from the American Deep South have a habit of ending suddenly and unexpectedly.'
From that point it developed in quite unexpected ways. Over the bare bones of the story. the episodic action features scenic Vignettes in which characters drift away from reality into the world of fantasy. ‘No idea. however weird. wacky or indecent. was FGJGCIOU Outright.' says Simmons. 'It was a thoroughly non-intellectual
Eroticisim and passion, ﬂamenco style
5 REASONS TO GO SEE . . .
Anyone with an ounce of flamenco appreciation in their veins should rush to see it.
In flamenco, dancers interpret el cante - singing drawn from deep within the body - with a balance of peacock-like formal discipline and hot-blooded improvisation. Here Angel Munoz, all turbulent elegance, and breezy, genial Fernando Romero, the show’s talented choreographer, are like the young Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly of flamenco. These virtuosos put the blatant narcissism of self-styled flamenco ‘sex-god’ Joaquin Cortes
production process. We literally made it up as we went along.’ The production has drawn tav0urable parallels With The League of
Gentlemen. so expect a show both funny and disturbing. ‘We don't answer all the questions: some threads are left untied.” warns Simmons. Less like fantasy than life itself. then. (Gareth Davresi
Tale of the unexpected: ‘Weird, wacky and indecent’
62 THE LIST 1-1 28 Nov 70")?
to shame. Dancers Isabel Bayon, Charo Espino and Alicia Marquez run a gamut from sunny to sultry.
It is beautifully-judged. Pena, Kelly and company experiment with modernism while respecting tradition. There’s a subtle but sure eroticism in the passion of the singing, the sensual curves and sizzling zapateado (stamping footwork) of the dancing and the sheer beauty of the guitar-playing. At one point Pena, suddenly barefoot, even strums his instrument with a sock on his hand. (Donald Hutera)
From Take Two to take that
l~llS'l‘OlTIC/\L DRAMA DAMN’D JACOBITE BITCHES Citizens‘ Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 28 Nov-Sat 21
On the face of it. seeing a Stewart Thomas play in a Citi/ens' Theatre programme is a bit like spotting Darren Day at le Conservatoire. His company Take Two. specialising in nostalgic. laugh-aminute musicals. has made quite a success of cheerful ccininercial theatre over the past decade.
So isn't a play about the women involved with Bonnie Prince Charlie and their forgotten role in history a major shift from Jive, Jive. Jive? for me. it's not such a radical departure. though there are stylistic differences from what the audiences of Take Two might expect." he says. "The bottom line s still whether something entertains people. There was quite a lot of research involved. but no more than I'd do into a play set in the £505; or (S()s.'
The play posits two parallel dinner parties, one in France. hosted by Bonnie Prince Charlie. the other in tendon. where the women left behind aftei'\.vard discuss the ‘A lot of these women's roles in the events described were instantly obscured] he says.
It all sounds pretty meaty. but Thomas insists on the entertainment factor. 'Historical plays can get weighted down with facts and the play becomes a lecture. I think the same entertainment principals should apply.' (Steve ()raiiiei'i
“it If you were one of the millions who bought. but never read. Stephen Hawking's magnum opus. the ultimate coffee-table book of the early 90s. it now comes in a handy. easy-to- digest stage version. Or rather. in a series of interactive. visceral ‘experiences' linked by the explorations featured in Hawking's book. Dispensing with the footnotes. appendices and index. Vanishing Point hopes to bring audiences face to face with both the science and the depth of wonder behind our fascination with life. the universe and everything. Esoteric issues. such as adjusting the clock on your video. will not be covered.
Included in the production is a video produced by a leading astropl'iysicist. proof that there is life but there'. beyond the cliched sci-fi world of white coats. Bunsen burners and laser beam weaponry.
‘lt's about the conflict. or balance. of people. like Hawking. who try to explain everything through science. and those of us who just have this intense. wild curiosity with the “big questions".' says director Matthew Lenton. ‘People can go to science centres and learn. and to theatres and be entertained. We're somewhere in the middle. combining both.‘
5 This is the only theatrical event of its kind from the Gorbals to Ganymede. Don't be late. (Gareth Daviesl T/‘.'iriiw.'ii/ Theatre. Glasgow, l/i/ed 20. F l'/ 22 (‘4 Sat 23 Nov.