FRINGE 2013 – Desde Cuba a Brazil – Ensalada the Union

Thwarted by Council regulations, Ensalada the Union – one of the Festival’s newest venues – had to relocate at the last minute from Union Street in the East End to a spot right near Gluttony, opposite the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Notwithstanding the eleventh hour shift, the current Ensalada the Union, complete with European tapas and cocktail bar, is already one of the coolest hangout spots in the 2013 Fringe. Particularly splendid are the delicious and adventurous twists on the traditional cocktail available from the bar, although it’s probably best to leave the car at home if you decide to have a few.

So, drink in hand, Ensalada the Union is a perfect location for Desde Cuba a Brazil, a fiesta showcase of Latin American culture and all of its historical influences. Presented by La Bomba dance and music school, the audience was transported to the world of Argentinean tango via Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, 1950s Cuba and so much more.  Interspersing traditional styles of dance with simple musical pieces, and including a demonstration of Salsa dancing from La Bomba students and a mind-blowing Brazilian finale, this was an incredibly fun, toe-tapping show which could get even the most exhausted reviewer into the mood to party.

Although at times this performance felt a little more like a talent show of the best students at the dance school than a Fringe show, this did nothing to diminish the splendid atmosphere. More importantly, everyone who participated was absolutely marvellous – and ladies, you will wish that your partner took you to a merengue club and looked at you like that. Ultimately, this show made you feel that you were no longer sitting inside a pop-up venue in the Eastern Parklands, but had been transported to a glistening, sultry nightclub in Rio de Janeiro, and what great fun that was.

A word of warning – if you do not like to be pulled up on your feet or asked to join in a performance, do not sit near the aisle. And certainly do not sit at the end of the catwalk, where you have nowhere to hide. Otherwise you will find yourselves swept up in a frenzy of Brazilian showgirls, dancing the night away. But don’t worry – I’m pretty sure you will love it.






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