nytheatre.com review by Rohana Elias-Reyes
February 11, 2012
Brazil! Brazil!, currently running at the New Victory, is a fast-paced, music, dance and action-filled sixty minutes that give a quick drive-by to everything you already knew about Brazil: it’s the home of samba, Carnival, and capoeira—and the people are passionate, very passionate, about soccer. Although the songs aren’t specifically credited in the program, and I don’t speak Portuguese, I did notice a few of Brazil’s greatest export hits going by as well, including “Garota de Ipanema,” “Magalenha,” and “Mais Que Nada.” The show is basically colorful postcards from Brazil come to life—but thanks to the enthusiasm and talent of the company, how engaging that hour-long taste of Brazil is.
My eight-year-old was blown away by lead dancer Gianne Abbot’s moves and couldn’t help herself from whispering with each new costume change, “I want that dress,” her covetousness brought to a fever pitch by the glittery, feathered Carnival outfit. From the enthusiastic responses I was hearing from some dads in the audience, Ms. Abbot’s outfits and moves had some adult fans as well.
In fact, the costumes, acrobatics, free-style football (think juggling a soccer ball with every part of your body except your hands), and infectious rhythms and vocals kept my daughter so engaged that she did not initially notice all the lyrics were in Portuguese. The action on stage was interspersed with videos of the favelas, rivers, and beaches of Brazil, and everything was tied together with a roving yellow soccer ball that made period appearances throughout. The audience was clapping and cheering every few minutes as the capoeiristas did acrobatics and mock sparring, Ms Abbot shook her hips at the speed of light, Edvan Lima did about 20 back flips in about 10 seconds, and Jailson Bispo did a running dive roll over five standing audience members (one over 6 feet tall).
While you won’t leave Brazil! Brazil! having learned anything new about Brazil, you and your kids will have spent an hour clapping along, attempting to shout out in Portuguese, and gasping in amazement. And perhaps there may also be a conversation about what is and isn’t appropriate school-wear in your near future as well.