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SEX, TANGO & EVERYTHING ELSE (article first published : 2003-02-14)

“No other dance connects two people more closely than the tango, emotionally as well as physically,” says Dawn Lindberg in the programme notes of her controversial show Sex, Tango & Everything Else. Opening at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre last night, the show involves two dancers (Mary Ann de Wet and David Gouldie) and two musicians (cellists Nina Sugden or Clara Hooyberg and guitarist Kenny Henson).

It’s been a long time since Durban audiences saw Dawn Lindberg on stage. A successful theatre producer and entertainer, she has a string of successes to her name, having directed and designed Godspell, Pippin, The Black Mikado, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Popcorn, to name a few. The legendary duo of Des and Dawn Lindberg, whose hit The Seagull’s Name was Nelson was acutely prophetic, still come to Durban occasionally but it’s invariably for a corporate gig which is not open to the general public.

Perhaps none. Perhaps all of these. But if people are arguing about it, isn’t that the true essence of theatre? Far better to make an impact than to be ignored!

I believe that Sex, Tango & Everything Else it is quite simply a story – the story of a woman who misguidedly chose to take the path of an out-of-marriage relationship. Drunk with the power of what she believed to be her hold over her lover, she sets off on a further course of sexual deviation. The inevitable result is the ending of her love affair, leaving her with a feeling of emotional and physical bereavement.

There’s explicit sexual language, that’s for sure. There are two musicians who provide accompaniment for the songs as well as for the narrative. Added to this, two dancers portray the sexuality of the tango.

It’s an interesting exercise but I believe the piece would be better served with some severe structural alteration and direction. The audience is exposed too soon to the explicitly-related sexual experience. This would probably have stronger impact if it were staged later in the play – almost as a flashback, along with other milestones in the relationship.

While Dawn goes down this road with a passion and the all-familiar toss-of-the-head, she reaches an emotional and dramatic peak too early in the show, leaving herself the difficult task of pulling back in order to regain that same impact later.

The darling of Durban audiences, Mary Ann de Wet, makes a welcome return to the city –looking as beautiful, lithe and adorable as ever. Gossamer light and an immaculate dancer, she partners long-time friend and colleague – the enigmatic and lofty David Goldie in the dance sections.

Choreographed by Adele Blank and Natalie Fisher with musical director by Dave Pollecutt and sound and lighting by Des Lindberg, the show was first performance at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2000.

The focus on sexual pleasure is extended by a programme insert which offers videos and DVD’s. Sex, Tango & Everything Else is promoted as an “adult” show. While certainly being explicit in its description of a woman’s response to passionate sexual experiences, this aspect forms part of the dramatic narrative.

The show runs until February 23. Performances generally at 20h15 with two shows on Saturday (18h00 and 21h00) and Sundays at 19h00. Book at Computicket. Don’t listen to me. Go and see for yourself in what genre you would place this show! ArtSMart always welcomes comment for its Letters to the Editors page – Caroline Smart




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