If an aficionado of dance, movement and mime this is a must-see, but otherwise?
The flyer for this production claimed the performers had drawn on their expertise in Commedia Dell’arte, mime and Argentine Tango but there were strong elements of Marionette/puppetry, and Kabuki present too. It was skilfully and cleverly performed by Marcelo Guardiola and Giorgia Marchiori, both clearly possessing years of dance ‘chops’. Structured in seven parts, the first (‘Barrel Organ’) dealt with the origin of the dance along the banks of the River Plate and the second (‘Emigrant’) with its spread to Europe, where it initially took hold in Paris. Important to its development in the late 19th century was the role of the barrel organ, combined no doubt with rhythms that had migrated there via slavery.
There was no dialogue whatsoever and as is frequently the case with mime, the manner – facial expressions and gesticulations – in which the story was told was by default humorous. But the superlative dance skills of the duo took it to a higher level, though not to a rip-roaringly funny one. In truth this was more an amuse-bouche. The third part ‘Bachelor Flat’ was intriguingly performed upon a box, research revealing the box to be a metaphor for a ‘bulin’, a flat used for specifically sexual activities back in the day in Bueno Aires. Next came ‘Fall’, then ‘Betrayal’ and lastly ‘Paper Heart’, romantic episodes intertwined within the risqué body language of the Tango. Inherent within this were also some balletic movements, some of which were truly breathtaking. One came away impressed more with the technical aspects of the show rather than the humour or drama. On reflection, in a different venue, in a later slot (this kicked off at 4.10pm), who knows…
Reviewer: Roger Jacobs
Reviewed: 5th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: