Bass Fam Creative. Director Bass G Fam. Riverside Theatre Parramatta. 16 -26 Feb, 2023

Reviewed : February 17, 2022 *

Photo : Ben Vella

Bass Fam created Matador to celebrate “a great love”. That he decided to do so through dance – and burlesque and circus – gave him great freedom to explore the physicality of love, as well its complexity, its darkness, volatility and destruction as well as the passion, intensity and nurturing.

Six choreographers and fourteen performers bring his vision to life in this production based loosely around a bull, a matador and a love affair. They tell the story through dance, raunchy burlesque, some pole dancing and some aerial thrills. And they tell it fast, and colourfully!

Photo : Ben Vella

Themes such as love at first sight, flirting, secrets and chaos infuse the choreography of the first act. These themes suggest the joy and inhibition of youth – vitality, naivety, even gullibility. All this shines through in creative, contemporary choreography –slick, snappy routines and impressive single and double aerial displays. The audience takes up the invitation to share the joy, clapping in time to the music, applauding the circus feats.

The second act takes them to a more mature, erotic view of love, a view that incorporates lust, hurt, cheating, rejection, revenge and wrath. Here Bas and his choreographers move to more classical dance including several beautifully executed ballet sequences. The love portrayed is inclusive, leading to some very touching and expressive double aerial routines. This part of the program is more varied, the choreography requiring greater precision, sensitivity, passion and expression.

Photo : Ben Vella

Bas realises the visual and emotive effect of colour, and the costumes, backdrop and lighting feed into that effect. Red, yellow, gold, black and bright white fabrics; leather, lace, filmy chiffon and embroidery; sparkling jewels and feathers; high heels and shiny, platformed boots – all bring what Bas calls “an element of depravity” to the production.

The energy of these performers – sustained for two hours of complex dancing, daring circus feats and ultra-quick changes of costume and style – is extraordinary. The joy of their craft shines in their faces. They love what they do, and they do it well!

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine.

*Opening Night