Author: Alx Phillips

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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Begin the Beguine – A Dance of Death

Further proof that we live in the age of hysteria in the guise of meaningful action comes from the Belgian director Jan Lauwers and his theatre troupe Needcompany. Begin the Beguine is the last work of the American filmmaker John Cassavetes, written, but never produced, before he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1989…. Read more »

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Madrid – Live In Theater revives La Movida Madrileña

Live in Theatre - Madrid

Immersive theatre creates a world in a set space, in which audiences are invited to experience a three-dimensional fiction meticulously created and controlled by invisible puppet masters. Interactive theatre, on the other hand, is rough and ready – the city itself becomes a backdrop and a protagonist in an unfolding drama, and the audience directly… Read more »

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Massacre! a bullet point history of Spanish capitalism

Marta Calvó and Alberto San Juan in Masacre Photo © David Ruiz

The average worker – aka the Spanish middle classes – is the focal point of a satirical stage production by the Madrid-based cooperative Teatro del Barrio. Masacre (Massacre) is an informative and incredulity-inducing theatre piece that covers some 100 years of Spanish economic history in just 80 minutes. The production features prominent Spanish actors Alberto San Juan… Read more »

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