Theatre review: Africarmen



at Cast in Doncaster

THE story of Carmen is a well-known one. Transfer it to the heat and colours of Africa, add a gutsy modern musical backing and exciting, imaginative and plucky choreography and you have the superb Africarmen.

Set in an oil rich military dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea, Tavaziva Dance’s vibrant offering certainly has the power to entrance an audience thanks to sterling performances by the seven dancers moving to African tribal rhythms, industrial musical landscapes, a hint of jazz and smatterings of classical fayre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

An oil platform is the only stage set, dominating the scene and emphasising the situation that the characters find themselves in. They are stuck in a repressive, enervating, soulless world in which they survive by interacting with each other. 

This particularly applies to Carmen who dreams of escape and yet, in a sense, traps herself by falling in love with two men who both eventually fight to their deaths though their passion for her. 

There are some impressive solo performances in this production by the dancers but it is when they work together that the stage comes alive. Energy fizzes from their enthusiasm and skill that it is impossible not to be captivated.

The music and the dancing are a perfect blend and the Africarmen concept just works because of it. Tavaziva Dance has a real winner here.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Themes of oppression, poverty, industrialisation, revenge and desperation are raised and explored effectively with enthusiasm, power and passion.

Africarmen was great but so were a group of younger dancers who gave a five minute performance prior to the main show.

Tavaziva’s artistic director, Bawren Tavaziva, and company dancer, Anna Watkins, choreographed a group from Leeds Beckett University to produce a five minute piece called Unlock The Key.

This piece flowed like a river from one piece of action to another and was mesmerising. The people involved should be proud of what they achieved: a treat for the eye and imagination.

All in all, a show which showed what modern dance can achieve.

Related topics: