Matador la experienca (Meat Market) – theatre review

Matador la experienca has taken the best of Matador and stepped it up a notch to create a totally electrifying and immersive showcase of talent. It is erotic, pulsating and energetic and presents the lion’s share of two hours of non-stop action and entertainment. The audience is into it from the get go – cheering, clapping and wolf whistling. They have every reason to as 14 scantily clad performers in a stunning array of lingerie and leotards cavort, dance and perform acrobatic acts on and above the stage.

Photos by Ben Vella

Alongside the magnificently choreographed routines are the rhythms that elevate the production – pop, Latin and dance numbers, dynamic and diverse. It is a piece about love, friendship and acceptance. It is burlesque mixed with circus arts. Sexuality of all sorts – straight, gay and bi – is on display. The cast doesn’t just perform on the stage and the catwalk in front of it. They appear from the sides and wander the aisles, interacting with the patrons.

Creating the right atmosphere even before the show starts sees Spanish street food and drinks served (at a price) as you enter the Meat Market. Already on stage is a Colombian-born vocalist Stefania Serna singing Bolero-style numbers accompanied by a keyboard player. If you want to get up front and personal, six tables, each with five chairs, have been set up either side of the catwalk. Beyond that, there is tiered seating and the way the space has been arranged there are no bad seats in the house.

The centrepiece of the activity is a love torn bull and a seductive Matador, but all does not go smoothly. The trials and tribulations of relationships are tested. Unrequited love and infidelity are part of the scene. From pole dancing in high heel, knee length glittering black boots to aerial gymnastics, contemporary dance and ballet, Matador la experienca has it all. It is a production that keeps on giving and is exhausting just to watch. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a performer. It is powerful and oh so polished.

Since writer, director and producer Bas G. Fam first introduced the concept of Matador at the start of 2019, it and its derivatives have become more and more slick and exhilarating. This is the best yet. He’s onto a real winner and the crowd simply adore what is dished up. Matador la experienca is playing at the Meat Market in North Melbourne until 8th May, 2022.

Alex First

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