The curtain raises to reveal a diverse cast of performers showing a lot of skin. Highlighted by a lot of makeup and even more muscles. A dance competition on steroids, Matador brings a mainstream top-of-the-pops version of a Spanish dance love story to Her Majesty's Theatre. In your face dancing and thrusting from the start to finish, this work is for people who love eye candy, zumba esk dance routines and a splash of circus.
Unfortunately the music was a let down and sounded like a Spanish top 40’s leaving much to be desired. The performers deserved an original soundtrack tailored to the story that showcased their talent and art. Instead we got edited pop music looking to please mainstream music fans at the cost of story and meaning.
There was a big setup for the balance pole routine but it was all over in 30 seconds leaving us unsatisfied. When the circus did get the time and space it needed it shone and satisfied ten fold. The Silks routine was sexy and smooth just like the costumes. When the cast were all on stage and in sync to some of the better tracks they did create a powerful dynamic that enthused the audience and drew us into the steamy lust fest. The best routines were the duo acts which presented some really raw uninhibited moments with the performers giving 100% of their physicality.
Liam Dummer & Liam Roodhouse stole the show. The duo had a great synergy, from the aerial hoop lyra onwards. The connection between these two men was intense, the spirit of the Matador lived between them. The majority of the show's sexual energy and appeal came from these two powerhouse performers. The leading lady and the Matador had a very performative showmanship energy with occasional moments of chemistry. Dummer and Roodhouse had pure chemistry and the talent to literally launch the show to a new level. When one of them leapt off the stairwell and caught the other mid dance routine, the show achieved the breathtaking gasp it was looking for. They were the blue flame of the fire that was Matador.
The piece did not really have a story and the random Allan Watts voiceover amongst other narration devices were not enough to form a story arc. It was more like being part of a climatic dance circle at a nightclub. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a different viewing experience as to what punters may expect to see on Her Majesty's stage.
What started with a comedic striptease from the leading lady morphed into something much more when the bed lifted off the ground and the routine continued mid air. The Flamingo routine sunk like an anchor, Tokenistic queer kisses were present from both sexes but to what end? Backflips in high heels are always cool but it was the men in general that turned up the heat and even though Matador definitely started lukewarm it did steam up throughout.
With an overload of pumped up group dance routines and chemistry that varied wildly, more circus acts would have pumped up the thermostat further. The lighting was great and well considered, it enhanced everywhere it needed to. The story was… well there is a bull and he wants a women. Enjoy.
A mismatch of costume dance and music, don’t expect an authentic spanish experience. Do expect a lot of skin and thrusting. Not an experience worth writing home to mum about. More of a naughty fun night out that will leave you amped and ready to charge the nearest dance floor.
Bass Fam Creative presents
part of the 2021 Midsumma Festival
Director Bass G Fam
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 29 April – 2 May, 2021
Tickets: $70 – $150