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Andalucian Images of Carmina Burana

Salvador Tavora, music by Carl Orff
La Cuadra de Sevilla
Theatre Royal, Newcastle, and touring
(2005)

Production photograph

The specially adapted stage of the Theatre Royal took a pounding as flamenco dancers and Andalucian stallions found a new stamping ground for the musical feast that is Carmina Burana. The timeless choral masterpiece by German composer Carl Orff is given the passionate Spanish treatment in this very different flamenco interpretation, complete with wild dancers, singers, guitars and even featuring a couple of white stallions.

Innovative Spanish theatre company Cuadra de Sevilla bring their unique version of Carmina Burana to Newcastle for the start of a UK tour.

Its dramatic musical opening - which brings back memories of a certain Old Spice ad - sets the scene for this inspired, almost experimental, production. So we have dancers in their traditional frilly dresses and moody-looking chaps wildly stamping around, captivating singers and some pretty powerful religious imagery thrown in. At one point an enormous wooden cross is lowered onto the stage, our Spanish heroine dances on it and then finds herself draped over it and hoisted up into the air. Meanwhile, two dwarves in monks' garb waft incense around so it pervades the entire auditorium.

It's all very different and I'm not sure I could explain what it was all about - but it's certainly a spectacle.

It's a choral work and there isn't really a storyline as such, but snapshots of Andalucian images and culture are recognisable.

It's passionate and quite exhausting to watch - the production runs for 90 minutes without an interval - but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Go and see what all the fuss is about!

Sheila Connor reviewed this production in Woking

Reviewer: Katharine Capocci