Vamos Cuba! at the Peacock Theatre
It’s hard not to believe Cubans have dance in their blood when seeing the colourful canvas of Nilda Guerra’s Vamos Cuba!.
Stuck at the Havana airport for a Miami flight that is indefinitely delayed, a group of most varied passengers get to know each other and share the following 24 hours with high and low emotions. While an air hostess and a pilot struggle with their relationship – parting, embracing and blending in a passionate bolero – another romantic story arises as it’s love at first sight for a porter (Yoanis Pelaez) and a doctor (Yarima Rodriguez).
At night, the Chief of Customs (Katia Pèrez) dreams about the folklore and the original dancing traditions of the island. The music is the protagonist and the artists show off with large and decorated headgear, ruffled dresses and a pinch of the expected La vida es un Carnaval. After the explosion of glitter and synchronised movements, the stage becomes dark just for a few seconds. Then, the spotlighted Chief dances to a melancholic Una Palabra by Carlos Varela, while black and white photos of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara pass on the background. Back to reality, the flight finally departs. Will all the passionate relationships come to an end?
The first class performers enchant and entertain. The piece, however, lacks some threading narrative throughout, so necessary to make the whole more than just a sequence of effervescent dances. Revisiting some of the traditional elements of the Caribbean island, the show at times overemphasises sensuality, focusing excessively on the sexual desire inspired by the movements and choreography.
The performance starts with a bang in a vivacious Cuban setting. The loose and brisk movements of Pelaez are simply phenomenal, like the powerful voice of singer Geidy Chapman. The second act sets a different tone; at the beginning of the dreamlike atmosphere, the rich hues are temporarily put aside for vivid white dresses and shots of blue as the Goddess Yemayá appears in an emotional chant.
Props to look for are the fans and foulards, used with extreme grace and precision. The play picks the typical features associated with Cuba – cigar, dance and sensuality – and transforms all in a joyful celebration that needs a final curtain to literally fall down over the artists in order to stop their rhythmic movements at the end of the show. The final Rakatoon by Frank Calzadilla Garcia is one of the most exciting conclusion seen so far.
Photo: Sadlers Wells
Vamos Cuba! is at the Peacock Theatre from 24th October until 11th November 2017. For further information or to book visit the Peacock Theatre website here.
Watch the trailer for Vamos Cuba! here: