Voices of the Amazon is a well-intentioned but ultimately shallow dance musical about deforestation in the Amazon. It tells the story of water sprite Beleza who leaves her aqueous abode for the rainforest in search of a cure for her sister’s mysterious illness. On the way she finds love with indigenous tribesman Yano, whose ancestral land is ravaged by fire.
Unfortunately, the show’s laudable environmental message is buried deep under a lot of crass capering, spangly loincloths and a diet Disney score, played and sung live onstage. Despite vocalist Kay Elizabeth’s powerfully resonant voice, and some rousing ensemble harmonies, the tunes remain largely forgettable.
Photos; Johan Persson/Tristram Kenton
The dancing – a mishmash of contemporary ballet and muscular capoeira – is proficiently performed but lacks subtlety, though the latter quality isn’t exactly necessary with Jeremy Irons on recorded narration duty.
Though his voice oozes actorly grandiloquence, the plot points are dealt with clumsily. Irons announces that there’s a fire and the stage is suddenly bathed in angry red light. The crucial fact of who or what started the blaze is glossed over. Instead, the preening on-pointe birds and arse-wiggling acrobatic monkeys who’d added a touch of colourful charm to the previous scene are subject to a neatly drawn-out death number. A lovely, lilting and genuinely affecting ensemble dance in the second act is all too brief.
Dance can and should engage imaginatively with political realities, but instead of truly addressing the horrors wrought by global capitalism, Voices of the Amazon resorts to the empty sop of showbiz spectacle.
This article, Voices of the Amazon review at Sadler's Wells, London – 'disappointingly infantile' - The Stage, was initially found at https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2017/voices-amazon-review-sadlers-wells-london/ on