Brazouka (Edinburgh Fringe)
This dance, physical theatre and circus story is "as interesting as a flick through a home carpentry manual"
Crowds are snaking round the Mound to catch this new Brazilian dance show produced by Pamela Stephenson Connolly (Billy's wife), choreographed and co-produced by Arlene Phillips, and featuring the story of champion freestyle lambada dancer Braz Dos Santos.
Braz plays himself, and can certainly make the moves. Unfortunately, he can't speak very intelligibly, and his story is as interesting as a flick through a home carpentry manual; wooden is the word.
Braz, a poor kid with ten brothers and sisters, sneaked a peak at the lambada in the local brothels, took it up, won a pineapple and a trip to Paris, ate the pineapple and didn't go to Paris, then went to Paris, after flirting with the sea gods (and nymphs) in a fishing boat.
He's surrounded by a hip-wriggling, bottom-pouting floor show that somehow removes the action from an impoverished favela to an Ibiza beach party, with a finale of chaps in bare torsos and high heels and girls in sparkly French-looking body-stockings.
Some of Arlene's routines are great – there are aquamarine sea creatures and goddesses, Fosse-style strutters on bentwood chairs, outré orgiasts in black lingerie, a Brazilian keepy-uppy football scena (don't say "7-1" anyone) in green and yellow and a Naymar haircut – but they are isolated in a painfully weak narrative.
Oddly, the show is neither an engaging tale of struggle nor a convincing guide to, or plug for, a native culture. It's a bland hybrid with an admittedly highly charged and sexy group of dancers, and a debilitating soundtrack; a live band might have made all the difference.
Brazouka runs at the Assembly Hall until 25 August
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