What a privilege to accompany Braz Dos Santos on his exhilarating journey from humble beginnings in a small Brazilian fishing village to the bright lights of Paris and beyond. Along the way we are introduced to the Orixas (gods) who tantalise and intrigue with their various gifts and temptations.
This is a high energy, slick and well-produced piece that brings the Nelson Mandela stage alive. The costumes are ideal, the lighting well-utilised, and the dancing and gymnastic ability of the performers all excellently highlighted, with dance moves and acrobatic antics seamlessly and effortlessly performed! One can easily forget the countless hours that must go into making it look that way.
Highlights of the show include the superb display of the Lambada (the ‘Forbidden Dance’). Who can forget the haunting notes of Kaoma’s music which made the dance world-famous, and indeed Dos Santos himself was a member of the original Kaoma group, touring the world with their unique blend of melody and dance?
And which Brazilian show would be complete without a tribute to soccer – the beautiful game – for which Brazil is world renowned? This scene is truly faultless with numerous soccer balls being utilised in what can only be described as a breath-taking achievement of precision and vibrant energy that truly depict the passion which both soccer and dance inspire.
The performers do not waver for a second in their dynamic presentation, and by the end, the audience cannot wait to get on their feet and attempt to gyrate as flamboyantly as those on stage! It’s Hot! Hot! Hot! Catcalls and whistles, whooping and stomping were heard as everyone quite shamelessly participated in the exuberant fun!
If I was to make any criticism, it would be that at times, Braz is difficult to understand, but I venture that the fault is probably ours, being un-used to his sexy Brazilian/Spanish intonation. The other point is that for a Brazilian show, it seems strange to have used a Scottish voice (Billy Connolly if I’m not mistaken) to introduce the Orixas. But truthfully, neither of these issues is enough to detract from the fact that this is thoroughly enjoyable entertainment of the finest calibre. If the objective of the show is to bring a love of the dance and rhythm that is unique to Brazil, to all those who watch it, then it unequivocally achieves it.
(Photo credits: 1-4 Joburg Theatre)