Soy de Cuba
Song and dance spectacular a real feel-good Fringe show
This article is from 2011.
This is not so much a feel-good Fringe show as a feel-sizzling-hot-and-leave-dripping-with-sweat show. Song and dance spectacular Soy de Cuba is so full of perma-grins, saucy winks and jazzily acrobatic moves it could be a cruise ship act. But, minutes into the first Cuban-fusion-fuelled firecracker of a dance routine, we’re smiling like fools too.
By the end – with the swirl of snake-hips, shaking of ruffled booty and pulsating Caribbean drum beats still in the air – the entire audience is shimmying and chanting ‘Ole, Ole, Ole’ in a Cuban conga that refuses to die. It’s like getting drunk and waking up in the best club in Havana. You’re unsure how you got there, but very glad you did.
Like the city that spawned it, Soy de Cuba is a little rough round the edges. The brainchild of musical director/composer Rembert Egües, it harnesses traditional rhythms and folkdance with Havana’s modern steps and sounds to convey the spirit of contemporary Cuba. It’s a rag-tag but ultimately irresistible cocktail of Salsa, Mamba, Cha Cha Cha, Afro-Cuban beats, Western jazz-dance, ballads and Reggaeton.
The format is a carousel of original numbers by Egües and choreographer Dieser Serrano. There is narrative thread: rural girl leaves home for thrill of city dance halls. But it’s just a cue for a song – and array of costumes to match the colour-pop of stylish film backdrop featuring Havana street scenes.
Given top billing is Egües’ find, singer Jenny Sotolongo, the girl who caught Castro’s eye and is drum-rolled as a ‘national treasure’.
She belts out tunes well enough. But the real star of the show is the cast as a whole: fellow vocalists, twelve dancers and five-strong band. The company has enough charisma to come with a health warning. If you only do highbrow, don’t do Soy de Cuba. If you have a pulse: this is the only party in town.
Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 29 Aug (not 15), 10.30pm, £15 (£12).