FRINGE REVIEW – Rhythms With Soul (Universal Arts)

*****

August 25 – 29
1550 – 1700, Universal Arts

The stage of the Majestic Theatre must have been specially reinforced for this captivating display of flamenco, in all its intense and passionate foot-stamping glory.

Indeed, there are times when Miguel Vargas’ feet become a blur, so fast are his powerful and hypnotic steps. The Venezuelan-born master of flamenco dominates the stage whenever he appears, with a powerful and enigmatic presence which captivates.

This is not to say the other members of the Flamenco Dance Theatre are weak – far from it. The eight male and female dancers and the eight-piece band evoke all the beauty and intrigue of Andalusian pride with their excellently choreographed steps and beguiling music.

The show traces the roots of flamenco from its gypsy origins, through its Latin American influences, to the classical theatrical style most are familiar with today. Staging and lighting is simple yet effective, especially when Vargas is spotlit alone, the embodiment of the spirit of the dance itself.

The costumes used in the various routines are also a highlight: beautiful flamenco dresses and simple, high-waisted outfits complementing the bold and expressive dances perfectly. Whilst at the back of the stage, the hand-clapping, guitar-playing and singing of the musicians completes the fiery and dramatic atmosphere.

It is hard to imagine seeing flamenco performed more expertly, passionately or impressively as this. Rhythms With Soul is one of those shows which exists to remind you the Fringe can be – amongst many other things – a stage for some truly world-class talent.

Ticket information is available on the Universal Arts website.

Keith D

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