Maria de Buenos Aires
Norfolk and Norwich Festival event at Norwich Theatre Royal
Where was the tango, where was the action, where was the drama and, frankly, where was the sex?
The publicity posters for this piece pictured a frisky couple, so hopes were running high that it would capture the essence of this famous dance – the power struggle between testosterone-driven men and ballsy women.
While the music, by tango master Astor Piazzolla, was fabulous, what happened on stage was basically pretty dull. Sure, the storyline about the number of people who simply disappeared in Argentina during its horrendous dictatorship was noble and, if performed with any sense of oomph, could have been touching etc.
Instead, it twisted and turned its way through the life and death of the central character without any real conviction so you were left bemused rather than outraged. And while the performers looked like they were itching to let rip with this smoochiest of dances, there was really only one decent number towards the end.
This was the first time Piazzolla's only opera has been staged in Britain – I can't imagine there will be a sudden rush to repeat the idea. Buy the CD, push back the table and chairs and create your own spot of tango.