THE IMPOSTERS

 

A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

 

Teatro Eliseo presents


Napoletango

 

 


Latin-Neapolitan Musical


Created and Directed by Giancarlo Sepe


With an Original Theme by Luis Bacalov


With


Stefano Capitani, Elisabetta D’ Acunzo, Susy Del Giudice, Sergio Di Paoia, Cristina Donadio, Barbara Folchitto, Antonio Gargiulo, Elena Gigliotti, Barbara Manzato, Cristina Messere, Francesco Moraca, Pablo Moyano, Raffaele Musella, Matteo Nicoletta, David Paryla, Giorgio Pinto, Caterina Pontrandolfo, Marcela Szurkalo, Luca Trezza


London Coliseum


4 – 7 August 2011

 

 

This fast-paced Latin-Neapolitan show with its cast of twenty is lively, entertaining and fun – vivace, piacevole and spasso!

Though Napoletango professes to centre on Tango, it’s real focus is on celebrating life, every day, Neopolitan style, as the characters in the show do. So in a sense, Tango becomes a metaphor for life!  

On the long road towards fame, the travelling Incoronato family, a raucous troupe of twenty performers of varying ages and types, convey the multi-generational spirit of Tango – everywhere, in everyone they meet and everything they do, and after seeing this show, you are sure to share their sensibilities too!

The choreography in this show is remarkable, for its seeming understatement, requiring great skill and focus.  It is all of the ‘don’t try this at home’ variety, as dancers writhe en masse, narrowly avoiding being stepped on by one another in more frenzied scenes, hurriedly shower together (in a manner of speaking), eat, dress, love, you name it, all the while exuding Tangoesque energy, passion and humour.

Their extended family includes cousins, mothers, aunts, uncles and anyone else unrelated by blood, who shares their enthusiasm and passion for Tango. They literally eat, sleep and wear Tango, imbuing everything they touch with its heady ambiance. So much so, that at one point in the show the dancers spill down from the stage, drawing partners from the audience as though expanding their family, by inviting them to join their dance. My partner to be hovered near my seat waving his hands over either side of my head as if to beguile me into joining him, and looking straight ahead did not deter his intent.

Thus, with the phrase, ‘Give me ONE of your hands’, I became one of many ‘volunteer’ dancers and it was all I could do to keep pace with my partner, as he was none other than Argentinean Tango dancer extraordinaire, Pablo Canaro who counted to three in his native tongue before each high kick and arm thrust heavenward as if to encourage me to do the same, and as he really does lead when he dances, no warning was needed before he turned us round and proceeded to lead me right into one of the rows, whose former inhabitants were already being lead round the aisle by his fellow cast members. When I looked in vain towards my feet Pablo (whose name I didn’t know yet) cried, ‘Look at me, I’m Italian,’ which made me, and everyone else within ear shot laugh out loud. Somehow I got turned around in the direction I needed to go to get out of the row, but as I was instructed to effectively, bend over backwards ‘as far as I could and stay that way,’ I obliged, ignoring the creaks in my bones leftover from my music and dance-filled camping weekend at WOMAD, Charlton Park.  Our co-editor was also lead into the aisle by a dancer, only to then lead her from one end of the Coliseum aisle to the other.

One segment in which six OAPs perform a type of Tango with their very hesitant movements is nothing short of amazing for its extreme balance and control, though it may seem more comic than skilled, simply because it’s so well executed, even more so because it is meant to be a fond send up of such scenarios. Intentionally OTT gestures, like make up that is exaggerated so as to be visible in the gods, entertain and ascertain personalities, as each performer unfolds his or her distinctive character, from the young blind man who gropes his way along the onstage dance floor through matriarchs who teach and guide their colourful flock of dancers, as they prepare for their first performance in a real theatre.

Conversely, in addition to giving a sense of the peeling walls and expressiveness of Italy, the show is tinged with Felliniesque theatricality, driving the warm feeling of Italia even closer to home. Commedia dell’ arte is referenced here too, most notably via a mask of Punchinello, a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry, worn by one of the dancers, representing, in this case, ‘the soul of the whole family’.

Carlo De Marino’s sets almost seem like part of the furniture, they’re so fitting for every scene from one with hoards of lived in looking suitcases and trunks strewn about, to the tables, chairs and related bits and bobs that’d have stories to tell if they could speak, and a big, bright Napoletango sign made of lights, arching across the stage. Likewise, his costumes (or lack thereof) are every bit as diverse as the characters, with hemlines going from north to south for ladies and gent’s kit ranging from dour to dapper. Lighting, by Umile Vainieri is also unique to each scenario, with star-bursts for one cheery scene, streaks of white light acting as water and lighting of every conceivable type filling in or throwing shadows as needed.  The soundtrack, by Harmonia Team reflects on the sensuality, vibrancy and history of Tango, as does Davide Mastrogiovanni’s music, especially composed for this show, though at times, it also contained hip-hop, clubby beats, indicating that Tango is still alive and kicking today.

But every vibrant scene in this show fairly pulsates with life, warmth and wit, not to mention great acting, dancing, miming and emoting, via mutual but separate activities, offering theatre-goers a veritable smorgasbord of possibilities to savour and enjoy.

Talking with members of the company afterwards, it was easy to understand their desire for a longer London run, as they had literally, made the normally high-brow Coliseum their madcap, earthy own.

Perhaps someone will intervene and book this hugely talented company for a good, long run. After all, a month at the Peacock Theatre aka Sadler’s Wells in the West End could prove beneficial for all concerned, not least of all, the theatre-going public.

 

http://www.eno.org/see-whats-on/productions/production-page.php?itemid=1623
Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZqhVigz5Vs

Getting to the London Coliseum
ENO is located in the heart of London's West End.

Underground

Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Embankment, Covent Garden
 
Train
Charing Cross
 
Buses
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Car parking
ENO patrons receive a 50% discount at the following Q-Park car parks: Cavendish Square, Chinatown (Newport Place), Marble Arch and Park Lane, Poland Street and Spring Gardens. To qualify please ask the Box Office to validate your car park ticket and present.
 
 

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