If watching the World Cup’s lively street celebrations wasn’t enough to make you cringe with envy, then try sitting through two hours and 20 minutes of Brasil Brasileiro‘s non-stop booty-shaking, hip-swinging, leg-twisting of a performance. The question immediately arises: how can these toned, physically-able bodies writhe about as they do? One thing is for certain — the wide-range of rhythmic beats and Afro-Brasilian dance styles will have you up in your seat, mov’n and groov’n like you were at Carnival.
Tracing the routes of samba — creator Claudio Segovia (famed for Flamenco Puro and Tango Argentina) begins the history lesson with West African slaves shimmy-ing around a tribal circle, attempting to invoke ancestral spirits. Atabaque drums, beaten with bare hands or wooden sticks, are brought on stage, getting the energy flowing and the feet tapping.
Stemming from the sugar plantations as a form of defence, capoeira is next on show: displaying jaw-dropping flips infused with martial arts lightning swinging kicks. Bringing a more melodic, sultry tone to the mix, samba canção and choro are introduced, sung by crooners Nelson Felix and Rose Barcellos (along with a live jazz orchestra), making your heart melt.
While a bigger focus on stage design and story might give the show a clearer sense of time and place, it is irregardless one of those productions that erases every ounce of stress from your mind and body. From folk-loric chants to tango and reggae, Segovia gives credence to Brasil’s vast array of musical sounds and soulful moves.
As the completely sold-out show, including celebrities Sir Ben Kingsley, Emma Rigby and Zoe Wanamaker, poured out of the theatre, elated faces proved it was a night to be remembered. Be prepared to get out of your seat and shake about — it’s time to enjoy life as the Brasilians do!
Brasil Brasiliero is at Sadler’s Wells, EC1, until 27 July. Show starts at 7.30pm Tuesday through Sunday, plus a matinee on Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm. The performance runs 2 hours and 20 minutes including one interval, with tickets ranging from £35-£50. Londonist saw this on a complimentary ticket.