Review by Carla Speight
Beauty and the Bull follows the story of a young prostitute in South America. Carlos Pons Guerra choreographed this Spanish interpretation of Beauty and the Beast. Successfully achieving a maximum visual and emotional impact, within the intimate setting of the Lowry’s Quays Theatre. Guerra’s choreography helps the audience explore the experiences of those who don’t fit into the conventional norms of society. The performance from the small cast of the DeNada Dance theatre; confidently delves into the worlds of sex, circus and freak, pulling the audience with them.
The intensity smoked out theatre, set the stage. Along with simple yet dramatic side lighting, providing ample intrigue in the first of the cast arriving on stage. Two men, dressed in dirty shorts, engaged in an overly stylised game of rock, paper scissors. Throughout the entire show both the costume and set remained simple, which left no room for distraction, however uncomfortable the audience became with the worlds they were faced with.
The Girl who in the opening scene, is sexually exploited by a dominant group of men in a brothel; is played exceptionally well by Emma Walker. Providing the most elegant and intriguing contrast to the masculinity on stage. She beautifully moved across the stage, emphasising her character’s vulnerability within this unknown environment. This allure remained throughout her performance, delivering a welcome gentleness throughout a show that is largely red blooded and sexually overt.
Marivi Da Silva achieves the objective of a dominating performance as The Bull. Her wire horns were effeminate; yet her mask, in juxtaposition, is cold, hard, iron-like and fiery. A simple yet clever visual representation of the character she plays. Her portrayal of the creature who tries to rescue The Girl is fascinating; perfectly complimenting the allure of The Girl, from the second they share the stage.
Guerra’s choreography emphasised his meaning of TORO well. In a piece written in the literature given with the tickets, Guerra explains that TORO is his “most feared monster: the white alpha male.” This was encapsulated in the performance of the three white, dominating males throughout the show. They achieved Guerra’s desired affect on the audience; leaving the audience largely uncomfortably during their presence on stage. Dominating The Girl and The Bull with their sexual prowess and obvious deviant intentions.
However there were small glimmers of humour throughout the show. For example the males clucking and squawking, the subtle expressions of bafflement from The Girl; which provided the light relief to engage the audience further. The exaggerated expressions and squawking were necessary, as there was no dialogue at any point to assist the audience in following the dancers beyond imagination. The touch of humour makes this trip into the worlds of sex, circus and freak more bearable for the audience and even more intriguing.
TORO: Beauty and The Bull is on tour across the UK in several central theatres. To find out more information and to buy your tickets go to their website www.denada-dance.com/