With hips like sparks and feet like gasoline, ‘Arrabal’ is a stunning stage burner draped with lightening supremacy and a live band that never misses a beat.


Toronto is renowned for a myriad of events but world premieres are indisputably our city’s golden achievement. And if a show wants to tease us with a cultural exchange boasting high design elegance and musical concert appeal, then it better loud and clear with what it wants to say. Thanks to Academy Award music maker Gustavo Santaolalla’s breathing rhythm into Tony Award nominee John Weidman’s book, Hogtown has got itself another bona fide senses tingler.

The brutality of Argentina’s political turmoil of the 1970s comes alive in the opening scenes when a father’s end draws near. He’s not alone in this historic nightmare that shook the social consciousness of an entire nation with family’s demanding answers as to the fate of loved ones.

Yet Arrabal Arrabaenters adulthood not knowing the truth of her parent’s disappearance. The Buenos Airies tango nightclub scene shields the heroine from a painful past in this show and tell theatricalization.

No words, no linear storyline, no interpretive motif is required in this transcending presentation driven exclusively through music and dance. Like a foreign movie, verbalization isn’t necessary when imagery tells an emotional tale of misery and freedom. It’s hip, it’s heavenly, it’s just what the city has been missing.

Artful expressionism aside, one has to understand they’re about to experience something compellingly different in Arrabel. Sadness and sorrow sealed with a thick celebratory lining makes this tango with a twist creation a deeply moving event.

Review by Steven Berketo

Book by John Weirdman
Feb. 13 – May 11, 2014
Panasonic Theatre
651 Yonge Street, Toronto
Tickets $44.00 – $84.00

CAST: Veronica Alvarenga, Soledad Buss, Juan Cupini, Marianella, Carlos RIvarola, Mario Rizzo, Micaela Spina, Julio Zurita, Mauro Caiazza, Valeria Celurso, Nicolas Cobos, Paola Jean Jean, Analia Morales, Leonardo Pankow, Cesar Peral, Gabriel Ponce, Marcela Vespasiano
DIRECTOR: Sergio Trujillo
MUSIC: Bajofondo and Gustavo Santaolalla

No comments yet.