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BWW Review: MATADOR at Her Majesty's Theatre

Matador is too hot to handle.

BWW Review: MATADOR at Her Majesty's Theatre
Christopher Politis & Pip Keltie
Photography by Ben Vella

Bass Fam Creative's, Matador, at Her Majesty's Theatre fuses dance, burlesque and circus together in an attempt to explore love, lust and sexuality. While individual numbers do succeed in this attempt, the use of the main motif of The Matador and her Bull without a clear narrative, makes Matador hard to follow, leading to the Show feeling more like a live performance of So You Think You Can Dance then live theatre.

Don't get me wrong the Show certainly is a lot of fun and succeeds in the first 30 minutes in its unapologetic transformation of Her Majesty's Theatre into a live Magic Mike club show, crossed with Cirque du Soleil. The music used features some great pop classics and Stéphanie Ghajar's lighting design does really help set the mood. Commercial choreographer Gerard Pigg, contemporary choreographer Josephine Magliolo and Latin choreographer Mario Acosta-Cevallos with assistance by Carmelo Pizzino, bring exciting choreography to Matador, but again the lack of a cohesive narrative make it hard for the audience to remain emotionally invested for two hours.

As well, Her Majesty's Theatre doesn't quite seem to work as a performance venue for Matador, and I am left wondering if a more intimate setting like The Melba Spiegeltent, which was used for the shows 2019 Melbourne season, would maybe have helped this current season seem less 'lost in translation'.

Matador is self-described as a "thematic tale inspired by the life of writer, director, producer Bass G Fam" and how "a tale of great love inspired him to be a better person, to find himself and to accept who he is". While a journey of self-discovery, particularly in sexuality, sexual fluidity and self-acceptance is important and welcome in a mainstream theatre context, in my opinion this piece's lack of narrative does not give justice to this story's important themes.

BWW Review: MATADOR at Her Majesty's Theatre
Jessica Robbins & Pip Keltie
Photography by Ben Vella

The highlight of the performance are the talented dancers who constantly dazzle and entertain through a mixture of commercial, contemporary, Latin, jazz, burlesque and aerial contortion. Pip Keltie as The Matador and Christopher Politis as The Bull are strong leads. Liam Dummer and Liam Roodhouse's aerial duet performance is simply stunning. Dummer's solo contortion work was also a highlight. Mario Acosta-Cevallos is strong in the execution of his Latin choreography and Gerard Pigg, Jessica Robbins, Josephine Lopes, Miranda d'Unienville, Courtney Lowe, Indigo Hunt, Edson Garcia, Amarah Radford and Trevor Santos all nail their performances.

Matador is playing as part of Midsumma Festival 2021 and is on at Her Majesty's Theatre until 2nd May. For more information or to book tickets please visit www.midsumma.org.au/whats-on/events/matador/


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From This Author Josh Stent