Category: Review

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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Overcooked Adaptation of Ibsen’s Wild Duck

Pablo Derqui and Ivan Benet in L'ànec salvatge (The Wild Duck) based on the play by Henrik Ibsen. Photo © Ros Ribas.

Hanging on the branches of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s brilliant tragicomedy, this humourless Catalan adaptation of The Wild Duck (L’ànec salvatge) turned complex character-archetypes into filmic clichés. This 1884 play was an excellent choice by director Julio Manrique. Its predominant theme of blinded idealism and addiction to abstracts over human relationships, exemplified in the missionary… Read more »


La Mare: Unflinching Drama of a Mother in Crisis

In a 2015 British production of La Mère, a contemporary French play by Florian Zeller, actress Gina McKee appeared ‘ghost-like’ in the lead (The Guardian). In the Catalan-language production La Mare, a local version of the play directed by Andrés Lima, Emma Vilarasau (pictured above) takes on the complex role of Anne, a mother in her 50s who suffers a… Read more »


Història: A Play of Shifting Perspectives

Història - Sixto Paz Productions Photo: © Kiku Pinyol

The shocks and infidelities of history and memory are explored in Història, a small format theatre production brought to Barcelona’s Espai Lliure after a successful run at Sala Beckett. This narratively and visually engaging piece is the work of Catalan playwright Jan Vilanova Claudín in collaboration with director and actor Pau Roca, and features strong… Read more »


La Treva (Time Stands Still): States of Suspension

La Treva (Time Stands Still) by Donald Margulies, dir. Julio Manrique, photo: Guillermo A. Chaia

Precisely timed to chime with World Press Photo, La Treva (Time Stands Still) is a Catalan-language version of Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright Donald Margulies‘ stage drama, in which two veteran journalists try to make peace with their homebody selves when trauma forces them to return to Brooklyn from the war in Iraq. Sarah (Clara Segura)… Read more »


L’inframón: the Dark Side of the Virtual World

L'inframón (The Nether) by Jennifer Haley, at Teatre Lliure Gràcia, Barcelona Sept 22 - Oct 16, 2016. Photo: Ros Ribas.

Sci-fi thriller The Nether (L’inframón), by American playwright Jennifer Haley, is back at Teatre Lliure in Gràcia this autumn after a spell at the Grec Festival in July. The contemporary play, brought to the Catalan stage under the direction of Juan Carlos Martel Bayod, deals with portentous, worrying themes; questioning the sanctity of the virtual realm as a ‘safe… Read more »