Voices OF The Amazon: A Tale of Two Sisters

VOICES OF THE AMAZON by Sisters Grimm ; Choreography by Helen Pickett ; Sisters Grimm ; at Sadlers Wells, London, UK ; 1 June 2017 ; Credit : Johan Persson / ArenaPAL ; www.arenapal.com

Lights dimmed and the curtains were drawn – the stage was set to go. A deep, comforting voice loomed over the darkness – it’s a voice my brother would immediately identify as a “blanket voice” – he’s Jeremy Irons, the narrator of the show – who bears an omnipresence throughout this.

Grammy Award nominated International Act by Sisters Grimm.

Voices of The Amazon is truly a one-of-a-kind dance musical set in Brazil. It was a showcase of great strength and body control – fusing ballet, contemporary dance, and capoeira – all set to a sensational Brazilian musical score.

You know how in theatre, “triple threats” describes actors who can do it all – sing, dance and act? This musical was a holy reunion of just that. The company consisted Royal Ballet Ballerina Hannah Grennell, narration by Jeremy Irons, and 16 dancers, singers, and musicians from an international cast from Brazil, UK, Europe and North America.

Driving the musical forward was the original musical score that was created in collaboration with world-renowned percussionists, Olodum. Great music, amazing dexterity and control of the body movement — what more could the audience ask for? An amazing wardrobe – that’s right! Think realistic-looking animal tails, glitzy colourful numbers and slinky ribbon dancers to boot. This musical leads you deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, even as you wait at the edge of your seat for the next surprise.

One part of the musical featured a montage of several introductions to the creatures in the forest – it bore similar magic and charm to when the animals were introduced in the animated film, Life of Pi. That’s how effective the dancers on stage were in their portrayal of the Amazonian rainforest. Simply breathtaking.

So what do the voices of the Amazon have to tell? Narrator Jeremy Irons brought us through the tales from long ago. But this particular tale speaks of two sisters whose hearts beat as one, deep in the Amazonian waters. I figured they were magical water nymphs of some sorts. One Sister falls ill, leaving the other Sister heartbroken, and on a quest to find a cure. This journey embraces the themes of love, trust, and hope, battling with the evils such as betrayal and inter-familial jealousy. Fret not – it’s still family-friendly. Finally, but most importantly, the battles ends with forgiveness.

At the end of the night, what appealed to me most was how successful the musical was in using the mediums of dance and song in portraying the two separate worlds – life in the forest versus life in the waters, and the love that extends beyond the limits of human flesh and desire.

Life exists in all forms. We all live as one – water or land, sky or sea. As Jeremy Irons finished, “the forest is a fragile place, but it’s spirit exists forever through it all. The male dancer (representing land) threw a handful of soil into the sky and a blanket of stars were testimony to look out for his lover (the Sister from the waters), till the end of time.

Don’t worry, both sisters were reunited, and no water nymphs or creatures of the night were harmed in the making of this musical 😉

Credits:
Photo courtesy of Johan Persson

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