Farruquito & Farruca (Flamenco Festival London) @ Sadler’s Wells Review

Opening with a single guitar chord, this passionate amalgamation of live music and flamenco dance, is a dialogue of culture, language and expression. A commentary of Spanish manifestations provide the soundtrack to this sensual, semi-improvised production. Buen Arate presents Farruquito & Farruca, in collaboration with Flamenco Festival London. In this feast of live music, and dance, Buen Arate presents a twist on the traditional flamenco identity, incorporating contemporary choreography, demonstrating longevity, only derived from a dance practice that is culturally centred.

Farruquito

There comes a moment in which behind the conscious and organised structure of a flamenco show, we as spectators seek the connection between the performer, his pasts and how he deals with his present. In the narrative that Buen Arate ‘proposes Farruquito runs to meet his people; those who existed before him and those who he decides to learn from again and again. His brother, Farruco, accompanies him and both of them guide the audience along the path of Jondo’. Farruquito & Farruco, is a mediation on the improvised essence of dance performance, drawing on collaborative influences, amalgamating live music and dance, showcasing a celebratory atmosphere. The show begins with a single musician, allowing an introduction to the Spanish realm that the performance goes onto highlight. The music presents the dominant connection throughout, providing a soundtrack of authentic tones. The Spanish performed throughout provides a truly original and authentic element, alining the genre of dance and music.

Although the technique and physical material is set, Farruquito & Farruco, appears greatly as a playful semi-improvised piece, with a temptation to create new dance sequences every night. Furthermore, throughout the production there seemed to be a lack of pace due to the improvised nature. Also on several occasions there are moments of technical inefficiency. Throughout the production there are several moments of prolonged blackouts, where there is some confusion as to what is happening next. Often I find the production informal to the point of lacking any sense of dramatic tension and performativity. Although the show is structured in small vignettes, the production often feels segmented and lacking connection. There is a lack of consistency and story, which is emphasised through the inaccessibility of dialogue and language. However, it is apparent that the show depends on the Spanish element, but can often take away the engagement and understanding of audience members.

This show accompanied by an authentic score of music is organic and natural. The sense of play is evident, with spontaneous interactions and eruptions of passionate performance. This production is engaging and entertaining, concluding with a standing ovation. It is a production that offers opportunity for traditional flamenco to be reimagined for a modern and contemporary audience. The sense of improvisation throughout, is often unpredictable building an atmosphere of surprise, sometimes uncertainty. The accented nature of the piece symbolised with strong dance sequences and rhythmic patterns, is stylised signifying a notion of dynamics. I leave the production questioning the drama within the performance, and a possible theme that could be implemented to coincide with the many vignettes of performance executed. 3/5

Review written by Meg Mattravers.

Farruquito & Farruca is currently showing at  Sadler’s Wells until Wednesday 24th February. For more information on the production, visit here…

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