Voices of the Amazon at Sadler’s Wells
The Sadler’s Wells Theatre at present can be defined by two inextricable and intrinsic elements: the machinate urban sphere surrounding, and Voices of the Amazon, a sensational contemporary ballet musical; the former is a reason to escape, and the latter an apt respite forged from the seeming inability to escape its clutching hold.
The curtain rises to the two suspended figures of myth: sisters Beleza and Flavia. Encircled by the dancing entourage and enshrined by the delicate musings of Rob Barron on piano, the two sisters’ movements proudly declare to us the one word we’ve come to see embodied on stage: ballet. The following flurry of emotive contemporary dance and vibrant colours weaves an intricate tapestry, that is, a veritable jungle of energy, where the captive audience is enthralled, sometimes in an intense blaze of fire, sometimes immersed in the aqueous regenerative waters of the Amazon.
Narrated by the legendary Jeremy Irons (Scar, The Lion King), and with outstanding performances by Stefanos Dimoulas, Rachel Maybank, Nathalie Harrison, and Charles Damasio, this sensorial feast is a testament to its producers, who have artfully synergised alacritous dance, sonorous voice, and mellifluous instrumental harmonies. It is this very same brilliance that creates the piece’s paramount struggle. The multifarious nature creates at times a division of interest, where in a bitter choice between orchestra, voice, or dance, the eyes cannot decide what to see; the ears are unsure where to listen; and the mind is overwhelmed.
If Hamlet’s claim that the purpose of art is to “hold…the mirror up to nature” is accurate, and this ballet was representative to the nature of the Amazon, then the mirror in this instance would surely be turned upon itself: an endless reflection of this summoned dreamscape, a story of creation, of deception, and of love. Yet to what purpose, to what raison d’être, could this ambitious vision, like the giant Kapok tree itself, be proudly upholding? A cursory estimate is that the Amazon is a delicate eco system in the midst of destruction, with an invaluable medicinal worth to humanity, which could be destroyed irreparably. It is this wider cultural context that endows Voices of the Amazon with an urgency to be witnessed.
Photos: Johan Persson
Voices of the Amazon is at Saddler’s Wells Theatre from 4th until 8th July. For further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Voices of the Amazon here: