Emma Sidi: Telenovela
Taking a sledgehammer to an already over-wrought form
This article is from 2016.
The telenovela, Latin America's highly dramatic take on the soap opera, has apparently evolved from clichéd tales of forbidden love in its early days to more satirical storylines and improvisation. Emma Sidi seems to be aiming more for the latter with character comedy featuring exaggerated Spanish accents and regular audience participation, highlighting the poignant contrast between hammy, technicolour onscreen melodrama and the monochrome mundanity of real life.
The most sharply-executed moments are also the subtler ones, and come mainly when the venue is plunged into darkness and a character sits agog at the drama unfolding on an unseen TV screen. But mostly, the audience is bombarded with 'comedy' accents delivered sledgehammer-style, dance routines sitting on the wrong side of ludicrous, and all peppered with some jokes that should have been written out of the script faster than a telenovela actor asking for too much money.
By the time this show starts to hit its stride, the hour is almost over, having already veered far off course. It hits a target obscured by melodrama that sits way more comfortably in its original telenovela context than in a comedy show, no matter how ironically it's presented.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 17), 8.15pm, £7–£9 (£6.50–£8.50).