Havana Rumba!

Submitted by faysie1 on Sat, 18 Aug '07 10.50am
Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Lo Maximo De Cuba
Director: Toby Gough
Ballet Rakatan, Sonore La Calle

Havana Rumba is one of those shows which isn't easy to categorise. There's obviously the electrifying dance, backed by some riotous rhythm, supplied by Sonore La Calle, but there's a little bit more to the performance than that, as it guides the audience through an explanation of the Rumba and its place in Cuban history and culture. There's even a little bit of political history, as we're given a glimpse of life in pre-revolutionary Cuba. Above all, however, this is a show full of life, exuberance and damn good fun!

Havana Rumba
Havana Rumba!

The show opens on a bar scene with the members of the cast playing out the roles of customers and staff, and, of course the house band. Quick tip - if you sit in the front row, you might even get a little sip of Havana Club to help get you into the spirit of things. Right from the word go, the footwork is fast and furious, and both male and female dancers display the sort of pelvic fluidity that makes you wonder if the hip bone is in fact connected to the thigh bone.

As the narrator guides us through the piece, we learn about the different styles of rumba, as we move from the bar to the beach and finally onto the Casa de Musicale, where the young Cuban gentlemen take the girlfriends they met on the beach to a matinee. The dancing continues to be both athletic and balletic, with the ensemble pieces interspersed with some gravity defying solos involving several more bottles of Havana club. Several lively costume changes include some very sharp suits and wing tip shoes for the boys, and some extremely short shorts for the girls, showing off those lithe toned dancers limbs to perfection - and of course I'm jealous.

Throughout the performance, Sonore La Calle keep up a fantastic backing track, full of pulsating rhythm, fierce horn and great Latin vocals. By the time the audience was coaxed onto its feet to learn some of the moves, there wasn't a soul without toes tapping, hips swinging and everything else shimmying along to the beat. And that's without the benefit of any Havana Club.

© Faye Gibb, 11 August 2007. First published at www.Edinburghguide.com. See also Assembly

Run 2 - 27 August not 13th. See Fringe Programme for details.