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Havana Rumba!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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This feisty Cuban dance show is full of spirit – and not just Havana Club rum, bottles of which make their way around the stage, even playing their part in some of the dance stunts of this all too brief rampage through the streets of Havana.

Hot beats, a Latin rhythm section and spicy guitar from the white-suited 10-strong salsa band Sonora La Calle whisk us away from the big purple upsidedown cow that is the Udderbelly venue on Southbank and plunge us right into the heart of Cuban life.

In director Toby Gough’s show, an easy humour threads through the dances, with each one telling a story of its own – whether it’s boy meets girl times three, as the couples pair up in bikinis and shorts; or the charms of a beautiful woman with whom men are constantly vying to dance.

They call him the 'Hurricane of Cuba' – and one-time dance leader of Buena Vista Social Club Eric Turro Martinez (along with his booty-licious dance partner) steals the dance crown despite surely being double the age of his fellow hip-shakers, at one stage twirling not one, not two, but three women around the floor with the help of a scarlet handkerchief.

Disappointingly, those in the audience weren’t ready to throw themselves into the clapping and bopping that’s probably par for the course in Cuba; and perhaps we’ve been spoilt by Strictly, as quite a few of the routines don’t wow as you’d expect them to. For all that, Havana Rumba is sassy, fun and full of flavour.


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