Director: Pietra Mello-Pittman
Choreographer: Helen Pickett
Musical Director: Rob Barron
Reviewer: Nicole Evans
Billed as a Brazillian-fused contemporary dance piece intertwined with ballet and capoeira, Sisters Grimm’s Voices of the Amazon tells the tale of the love between two water-spirit sisters who live beneath the deep waters of the Amazon river. When one becomes ill, the other ventures above ground in search of a cure. Wandering into an unknown land with the depths of the rainforest engulfing her, she encounters friendly creatures and hostile tribes, eventually finding a love of a different kind among the natives posing the question of which love is to prevail.
Will the rapidly depleting forest really contain her sister’s cure and can she overturn the hostility that surrounds her in order to find a being that will aid in her quest?
With so much going on at any one time Voices of the Amazon runs the age-old risk of offering too much to keep up with. However, unlike some complex contemporary pieces, there is no danger of losing touch with this story during any of the song or dance sections as the performance is voiced-over with a smoothly-spoken narration care of Jeremy Ions who keeps the audience well versed in the story that is unfolding.
A more appropriate setting with lighting and a stage-set would add to the immersive nature of this production but it is far from a necessity of the enjoyment. The character development demonstrated by each and every one of the performers combined with the staggering juxtaposition of music, narration and choreography is enough to transform the Waterfront Stage into a beautiful Brazilian habitat filled with other-worldly creatures of the deep.
When anticipating an ordinary dance piece, the magic of the musical-theatre production that unfolds before us is almost unreal. Immersing us in its powerful imagery, the beauty of the movements alone is enough to drown out everything else around us and the company completely draw us into their Amazonian world.
With live musicians taking care of the original score and a leading lady whose voice could blow the cobwebs from the rafters of The Albert Hall, Voices of the Amazon really does have it all and is worthy of a main house stage anywhere in the country.
An almost Disney-esque piece that provides an extremely accessible journey into the world of contemporary musical-dance; this is a completely polished, full-pelt production that goes beyond all expectations. Simply sublime.
Reviewed on 15 July 2017 | Image: Giulietta Verdon Roe
Latitude Festival runs from 13 – 16 July 2017 at Henham Park, Suffolk