Tanguera
 the show in Theatre Carré in Amsterdam
 
Photo © Manuel Navarro de la Fuente

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Info about the show
and the address of Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam:
www.theatercarre.nl/
show/NL/Tanguera


 
Earlier reviews

Reviews of earlier shows (with not exactly the same cast) in London, August 2010:
The Guardian, by Sanjoy Roy
The Telegraph, by Laura Thompson
A review of the premiere in Amsterdam January 12th, 2011
by the editor of Torito.nl, Rob Nuijten

Let me tell the bad news first:
The not so positive news is that, when you've already seen some large theatre tango shows in your life, and speaking of the choreographies, there's little new to be seen. Before attending the premiere of the show in Amsterdam, I'd been watching the videos of it, made available at the official website of Tanguera, www.tanguera-musical.com. (Click MEDIA, then VIDEO Gallery). Also the website of Royal Theatre Carré offers a video of an invitation by the dancers, in rehearsal, to come and see the show in Amsterdam: De-cast-van-Tanguera-nodigt-je-uit-2
What these videos already told me, is not to expect anything new. And, as I said, for the biggest part this became true.
The choreographies may be newly created for this show, to my experience they contain no new ideas, not one surprise, and they're little more than other combinations of the distinguishable steps, kicks, jumps and acrobatics that tango aficionados have so often seen already for the past two decades. An explanation may, of course, be found in the fact that the show was brought on stage from 2002 on, what means the creation of it all began even earlier. And when little changes in the choreographies were made in the past eight to nine years, the choreographies will gradually become oldfashioned.
 Please be aware however that this rather tough opinion of mine does not criticize the thirty dancers in this show. It's the choreographer, the so well known dancer Mora Godoy who dissappoints me. How come she didn't give the sensuality of the tango much of a chance? Was it regarded too much of a commercial risk? There's some moments in the story, a love story as it claims to be, that a really seductive or sensual tango dance would be most appropiate. I think now it's less of a love story and more of a fighting story, since the men keep quarelling over the 'ownership' of the girls. The danced knive fights keep coming back till the very end and that's just a little too often. I think that it would be a good idea to keep developping the show and break the viewers heart more by the dance itself, than by the story. The dancers can do it, but then they need to change some of the choreographies.
Theatre Carré's 'Tanguera' flyer claims the show to be a love story through which the history of the tango is woven. But I think there's little to learn about the history of the tango. The different rhythms, milonga, tango and 'vals' (tango waltz) are all danced in the style of around the year 2000, and not in the style of the beginning of the past century, in which the story is set. But of course the visitors of the show do not come see it hoping to learn anything, but to be entertained.

And there's the good news:
When the curtain opens for the first scene, you may feel like being on a film set of a Hollywood movie production. All the people walking around, busy with their work in the harbour of La Boca (Buenos Aires). A ship arriving, cleverly suggested partly by projection, partly by details that effectively make clear some ocean steamer has come to dock. Yes, you're definatly going to be entertained and I think you're going to really appreciate the music, the arrangements, and the quality of the performance by the orchestra from the first note you'll hear. I bet you'll experience the stage designs as effective to say the least, tastefull and at some moments even breath taking as I did. I think all the qualities that the story writer, actors/dancers, choreographer, composers, musicians, singer, stage, light and sound designers bring to this show, culminate in the brothel scenes. There's even some subtle humor for you to discover, that you may miss when you're too distracted by probably the youngest lady dancer in this show doing an excellent job in seductive dancing. So you may have to devide your attention between the seductive dancers and the lady singer. What may also be so pleasant about this brothel scene, is it not being all high energy dancing. As a visitor, you may feel like you somehow woke up in some metropole's upper class night club instead of a theatre. But don't get me wrong: you can bring your whole family to the show.
The lady singer, Marinella, is a also real pleasure to listen to and watch. It's a pity she has so few appearences.
Those visitors of the premiere in Carré, that were not tango dancers themselves, and that I spoke with, were very very positive about the show. One could hear the enthusiastic oooh's and aaah's in the corridors of the theatre, and the continued applause at the end of the show said enough about audience's appreciation. The performing artists rewarded that applause with a few 'encores' ('otras' as they say in Argentina) that were a show in itself.
And also the tango dancers in the audience, that I've spoken with, really appreciated the show as a show, but then with the remarks I already made above here, about the missed chances for sensuality.

More good news:
The videos at the webpage do not all show the actual state of the stage designs, the decors. Where the videos show backgrounds that appear like just empty and neglected black spaces, you may now expect to see a lovely decor in the theatre.
www.tanguera-musical.com. (Click MEDIA, then VIDEO Gallery).

PS. The tangueros in the Netherlands enjoy the dancers of the show visiting the milongas (tango dance places) in Amsterdam, during the 2 weeks Tanguera is playing here. It's great to see that they're not only skilled stage performers but also dedicated milongueros that visit the milongas regularly, and even seek to dance the tango in the night, right after their performances.
PS 2. A personal thank you to the musical director, for putting the milonga 'El Torito' on the playlist as well ;-).

Rob Nuijten
Amsterdam
editor of this website
torito (at) torito.nl

Would you like to express your views about the show and make an interesting contribution to the content of this webpage, please write to the editor.