Brasil Brasileiro – review
Sadler’s Wells

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 9:03 AM | Review by: Havana Wellings-Longmore |
Brasil Brasileiro © Brasil Brasileiro promotion Brasil Brasileiro © Brasil Brasileiro promotion

If you are looking for a great evening of entertainment then this non-stop toe-tapping, hip-swinging, drum thumping performance is for you.


Brasil Brasileiro returned to Sadler’s Wells theatre the same week the Brazilian football team were knocked out of the World Cup. The coincidence is fitting, as the spectacular song and dance show is an excellent demonstration of the cultural fusion and diversity within Brazil. It stands as a reminder that Brazil as a nation has more to offer global audiences than memorable World Cup finals. If you are looking for relief from the football or just a great evening of entertainment then this non-stop toe-tapping, hip-swinging, drum thumping performance is for you.


Brasil Brasileiro translates as Brazilian Brazil. The show’s creator ­­­Claudio Segovia is treating London audiences to a truly Brazilian experience. Brasil Brasileiro explores the nation’s history of slavery and colonialism through the celebration of African and European cultural fusion within their music, dance and even religion.


The show opens with a Candomblé segment, exploring the African influence that arrived with the slave trade. Candomblé is a syncretic religion, which combines a mix of Yoruba and Bantu beliefs with aspects of Catholicism. Although most audiences will not understand the talented Yoruba singer, the sorrow within her voice haunts you and instantly silenced everyone in the auditorium. The simple rhythmic claps and stamps of the dancers invoking the image of the field slave keeping time whilst cutting cane. The spiritual moment doesn’t last long as the energetic ensemble clearly can’t wait to demonstrate their skills in capoeira and samba.

The infectious energy, enjoyment and incredible skill of the performers and live band mean long before the interval you are planning either a trip to Brazil, or taking up samba or capoeira classes.


Juxtaposed with Brazilian cabaret singers are dazzling displays of samba in all its forms. In high heeled stilettos and sexy dresses the female dancers twirl and twerk, whilst male dancers spin them around in ways that border on the insane. The dancers are spun behind backs, up in the air and all with an air of effortlessness and pleasure. The live band and in particular the percussion control the pace of the show and together with dancers truly transport you to Salvador and Rio depending on the African or European influence. Three talented capoeira dancers wowed the audience with their segment, which was performed to the traditional instruments of a berimbaus and pandeiro. The trio treated the audience to rhythmic martial arts with aerobatic tumbling, and break dancing floor poses. The synchronised kicks moving so fast they soon blur to the naked eye, but all serves to keep the audience on the end of their seats.


My favourite part of the production was the 1920’s step dance which played with light, shadow and shape in an innovative way that dance productions often leave for the circus and mime practitioners. The minimal use of set and lighting didn’t distract from the talent on stage but the performers and audience would have benefited from more structure regarding the format of the pieces. I was disappointed that the production didn’t explore the current Latin samba musical fusions or any carnival dances, and featured one segment on carnival music. Nevertheless the infectious energy, enjoyment and incredible skill of the performers and live band mean long before the interval you are planning either a trip to Brazil, or taking up samba or capoeira classes.


Info: Brasil Brasileiro is at Sadler’s Wells until July 27, 2014 | book tickets




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