Home » London Theatre Reviews » Che Malambo at The Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells | Review

Che Malambo at The Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells | Review

CHE MALAMBO photo by Diane Smithers
CHE MALAMBO photo by Diane Smithers

If you’re reading this because you’re interested in seeing an exhibition of virtuoso virility by twelve Argentinian men with incredible lower body dexterity and an infectious sense of rhythm with an astonishing ability for doing very dangerous things with lassos you will love this show.

Che Malambo is an Argentinian based company whose French choreographer ( and former ballet dancer), Gilles Brinas has been inspired by the centuries-old dances of the Gauchos from the Pampa region of South America.

The performers in this show create their own accompanying footfall of percussive rhythm, sometimes accompanied by drumming. The whirling boleadoras (lassos with stones attached to the end) bring their own sounds, sometimes like a whip, sometimes sounding like the wind. There’s the same sense of pride and mastery in the dancing as in flamenco and when all twelve performers are moving in rhythm as a gang together the effect is very powerful.

The tonality of the show varies in case you wonder how Mr Brinas might sustain your interest over its one hour 30 minutes playing time. He does this partly by introducing duets and solo’s describing the emotions of those gauchos who spend their lives with their horses on the Pampa. Also by dramatic use of the lassos. The danger of these is tangible, their speed is ferocious and the performers’ ability astonishes. It’s exciting and the crowd on opening night loved it, giving the show a long standing ovation.

This is not a narrative show but rather a series of set pieces made to thrill.

If you’re looking for an evening of meditation and contemplation this is probably not for you but if you’re looking for some authentic excitement through movement and daredevilry you will probably enjoy yourself.

4 stars

Review by Marian Kennedy

For the first time in the UK, after wildly successful performances across North America and Europe, the all-male Argentinian percussive dance and music sensation Che Malambo brings the power, poise and posturing of the gaucho cowboys to the Peacock stage.

Created by French director and choreographer Gilles Brinas and touring internationally since 2005, Che Malambo digs into the traditions and duelling culture of the macho Argentinian gaucho, with precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming and song originating in the South American pampas. Into the cultural melting pot were added elements of flamenco brought by the Spanish, the step dancing of 19th-century Irish immigrants, and tap and body percussion brought by West African slaves who worked alongside the gauchos. The hallmark of Malambo is zapeteo, the fast-paced footwork inspired by the rhythm of galloping horses. Malambo also features the drumming of traditional Argentinian bombos and whirling boleadoras, a throwing weapon made up of intertwined cords and weighted with stones.

Che Malambo
18 Jul – 22 Jul 2018
The Peacock, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT, London


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