La Palabra en el Tiempo translates to ‘a word in time’, and this captures perfectly the way spoken word and Flamenco dance merge into this high energy piece.
At times hypnotizing, the lead dancer Denise Yeo is one of those artists that’s so skilled in her technique that she’s able to move and play with the limits of the Flamenco forms. She flexes this expertise by using physical theatre to act out the accompanying poetry with the best sort of wild and silly dramatic movements.
On the other hand, I found the poetry of Garth Martens too abstract in its form to detect any real story. Instead, it only served to distract and break up the flow of dancing in a way that I personally found grating. I think the fragmented and emotional words he lumped together were likely an attempt to mimic the emotional non-form of the strains of Andalucian gypsy languages spoken traditionally by Flamenco dancers as an element of the lyrics sung along with this form of dance. However, this needed to be clearer, and didn’t work for me.
The singing was exceptional, and the guitarist really stood out as well. The costuming was wonderful as well.
I recommend attending with an open mind, letting go of your perceptions of how Flamenco should perform itself and instead let your mind wander into the infectious rhythms, melodies and music of this Fringe- worthy piece.
La Palabra En El Tiempo is playing at Studio 16 as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Elizabeth Goode
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