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Carmen La Cubana

“Filled with drama and danger”

The story of Carmen has been reimagined countless times, but Christopher Renshaw’s Carmen La Cubana, which draws its inspiration from both Bizet’s opera and the 1943 Broadway musical Carmen Jones, is the first adaptation to be set in Cuba.

Set on the cusp of revolution, the set’s peeling paintwork evocative of faded grandeur, both country and heroine are seeking a better life. The setting suits a tale that teeters on the edge of danger and, in the key twist for this production, it also allows for an influx of Cuban rhythms and dance styles.

Salsa, cha cha, rumba and mambo are woven into the familiar songs of Bizet’s opera, and the same is reflected in choreography that draws upon Cuba’s multi-faceted dance culture. The superb dancers of the all-Cuban cast slink and sashay through Latin steps, whip through Broadway jazz routines and throw themselves with abandon into Afro-Caribbean style contemporary. Interspersed throughout, these vibrant bursts create an infectious, party-like atmosphere. If anything, it would be good to see more full-length routines from these sharp, energetic dancers.

As Carmen, Luna Manzanares Nardo is commanding and seductive, using her prison ropes to lure and entice Jose, the hapless soldier charged with escorting her. With her rich vocals she aptly captures Carmen’s fiery, strong-willed spirit.

While non-Spanish speakers have to suffice with simplified surtitles, the clear characters are easily understood. Carmen’s friends Paquita and Cuqui are especially lively, as are the boxer El Nino’s managers, Rico and Tato.

Ultimately, it’s the cast’s irrepressible energy that drives this show. Joyous and raucous, yet filled with drama and danger, Carmen La Cubana strikes a neat balance between its story and setting.

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Production Details
Production nameCarmen La Cubana
VenueSadler’s Wells
StartsAugust 1, 2018
EndsAugust 18, 2018
Running time2hrs 25mins
AuthorNorge Espinosa Mendoza, Stephen Clark
Book writerChristopher Renshaw
DirectorChristopher Renshaw
Musical directorHector Martignon
OrchestratorAlex Lacamoire, Edgar Vero
ChoreographerRoclan Gonzalez Chavez
Set designerTom Piper
Costume designerTom Piper
Lighting designerFabrice Kebour
Sound designerGareth Owen
CastAlbita Rodriguez, Cristina Rodriguez Pino, Joaquin Garcia Mejias, Jorge Enrique Caballero, Laritza Pulido Garcia, Leonid Simeon Baro, Luna Manzanares Nardo, Maikel Lirio Bravo, Rachel Pastor Perez, Saeed Mohamed Valdes
TechnicalAdam Sutton, Bjorn Ladehoff
Stage managerJuan Carlos Escandell
ProducerBB Group
VerdictFun, fiery and dramatic dance reimagining of Carmen
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Rachel Elderkin

Rachel Elderkin

Rachel Elderkin

Rachel Elderkin

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