Tebas Land: Tragedy with a Twist

In this fabulously intense and manipulative Spanish-language drama by Franco-Uruguayan playwright Sergio Blanco, Martín, a young man who has murdered his father, becomes a material resource for S, an earnest if smug playwright-professor. The latter wants to make a play about parricide, a modern theatrical take on the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex; the former is… Read more »

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La Calavera de Connemara: Grave Matter

The proposition to exhume the remains of fascist dictator Francisco Franco after nearly half a decade resting in peace in a state-funded mausoleum, puts a grave twist on Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara that makes a return to Barcelona’s La Villarroel in an energetic Catalan version directed by Iván Morales. Set in the district… Read more »

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Three Times Rebel – Rage against the patriarchy

Marina Mascarell Three Times Rebel

“Sexism fixates on the body of a woman,” says the Valencia-born choreographer Marina Mascarell, whose pitch perfect dance piece Three Times Rebel uncovers the roots of the feminist movement as an act of physical defence as well as intellectual defiance. The contemporary work, which premiered last year, developed “organically” after years of research, says Mascarell…. Read more »

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Lali Ayguadé’s ‘iUanMi’ – Four Dancers and a Funeral

iUanMi Lali Ayguadé Co.

A funeral as the setting for the second dance piece in a trilogy is an intriguing departure point in this new creation by the choreographer Lali Ayguadé. iUanMi, like its predecessor Kokoro, is a contemporary dance piece for four performers that explores internal and external worlds and the transformative relationship between them. An enormous curtain… Read more »

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Chicken Soup with Barley: the End of Idealism

La Perla 29

This Catalan version of Arnold Wesker’s 1956 play, Chicken Soup with Barley, centred on a working class family living in London, is a finely staged and well-choreographed production, featuring a strong central performance by Màrcia Cisteró as the die-hard socialist Sarah Kahn. The play (Catalan title: Sopa de pollastre amb ordi) centres on the ideals… Read more »

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Frankenstein: Shocked into Life and Looking for Love

Joel Joan is the monster in Frankenstein.

In this entertaining homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein a team of Catalan multidisciplinary creators have adjusted the plot of the 1818 original to present an atmospheric if ‘diet’ version of the tale. A Wagneresque soundtrack and enigmatic images of the natural world provide the scenery for the story of mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein, who, in… Read more »

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Nell Leyshon’s rural idyll under an avalanche of apples

It is autumn, the trees are already bare and the apples ripe; in fact, in this Catalan production of Nell Leyshon’s Comfort Me With Apples they are positively gleaming: an impassioned red, a vivid green, and that strange pale Fuji variety that taste like soap. The plentiful presence of the fruit, tumbling from the heavens… Read more »

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Protagonist – Human Nature and Narcissism

Protagonist: Cullberg Ballet / Jefta van Dinther

Without recourse to technological statements or politically-correct diatribes, Protagonist, created by the Dutch/Swedish choreographer Jefta van Dinther for Sweden’s Cullberg Ballet, averts the shock tactics that audiences now expect from contemporary dance performances. Semi-dressed dancers on a semi-dressed stage: red, black; a frame at the back could be scaffolding or gymnastics bars (and are used as both)…. Read more »

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La Visita de la Vella Dama: macabre take on a creepy classic

Catalan adaptation of the play by Friedrich Dürrenmat

Sharp-toothed tragi-comedy La Visita de La Vella Dama (Der Besuch der Alten Dame), directed by Jordi Palet Puig with Vicky Peña and Xavier Capdet in the leading roles, works great in this astute Catalan adaptation that uses creepy puppets as characters, the work of the inventive Farrés brothers. Written in the 1950s by the politically-active… Read more »

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