Reviews: A new spin on the tango and a homage to horror make for excellent viewing


By Peter May

Horror is often a forgotten subject in the world of theatre, so Swedish director Jakob Ahlbom, who is a fan of the genre has made a loving homage, one that is both thrilling and entertaining.
Using a mix of dance, acrobatics and mime, he splices together scenes and characters from a selection of classic movies such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, The Exorcist plus others to create a story of his own.

The story is a classic horroresque one, where a woman returns to her old childhood home, faced with her sister’s vengeful ghost.  The ghost played by Gwen Langenberg is terrifyingly terrific; due to the way she twists and contorts her body crawling around the stage. She is clearly channelling Regan MacNeil in the Exorcist complete with the ticks and murmurs.

There is excellent use of props amongst the copious amount of bloodshed splattered throughout the 90 minute run. A memorable moment sticks with you where a hand gets chopped off, only to become reanimated moments later like Thing from the Addams Family.  A stand off between zombies and the axe wielding undead come to a head in a bloodbath, makes for great unnerving drama. There are no words uttered until the very end, so what really gives this production the pizazz is the visual and aural effects. All in all bloody good fun. Literally

Until 10 June, Peacock Theatre



Argentine tango is pushed to the extreme

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – m¡longa

By Peter May


As part of his successful international tour, this smouldering Latin-American dance form encourages the audience to look at tango from a different perspective.  M¡longa is a beautifully choreographed performance, a perfectly judged 90 minutes straight run through without an interval.

Set in front of huge 3D video projections along the backstreets of Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango in the 1890s, Cherkaoui goes on to play with the art form in all manner of wonderful ways, dissecting its movements, tropes and moods, and reassembling them in all sorts of new and riveting configurations.

Cherkoui allows the dancers to show a range of emotions throughout including: grief, joy, love and happiness. All of this is apparent through the performers grace, flickering legs and rhythm across the stage. Along with the dancing and interesting visuals, there is an excellent five strong band mostly including violins, which add the perfect soundtrack to a sexy and romantic experience.

There is an interesting scene where a dancer is jogging around the stage between duets in front of animated rolling scenery of the Argentinian city backdrop. Cardboard cut out silhouettes dotted around the stage come alive with the trickery of lighting, one couple are transformed into a kaleidoscope while another multiply into a crowd of performers. Tango has never looked so appealing and given a fonder makeover.

Currently touring