Tiago Gambogi, The Carrot King

Review in Issue 11-1 | Spring 1999

On the glossy leaflet advertising The Carrot King, Tiago Gambogi promises to ‘detonate’ his audience. Far from it – this dance theatre solo piece proves to be more of a damp squib than primed TNT.

This protracted tale of a young Brazilian’s initiation to London and his inexplicable preoccupation with carrots, begins with his arrival in slow motion, sporting expressions of exaggerated wonderment and an inane grin which remains with him throughout. Unfortunately, the carrots aren’t the only things that grate in this production.

The piece rambles aimlessly from one symbol to another, and while Gambogi’s gripes are obviously those of any individual floundering in a foreign city, his making of carrot tea, and dragging round of drinks cans painted orange, fail to shed any real light on the anxieties and frustrations this must involve.

Gambogi is clearly a skilled dancer and some of the choreography is moving and slick, leading me to suspect that this would have been entirely more effective as a purely dance piece. The text, rather than connecting the themes and dance sections, only serves to make the whole thing increasingly disjointed and confusing. When, towards the end of the piece, Gambog proclaims ‘Fuck the angst!’ I couldn’t have agreed more; and eventually his apparently ceaseless energy and Latin passion did succeed in conquering my faltering affections, as he danced frantically to Aquarela Do Brasil and coaxed the somewhat reluctant audience members to ‘come dance with me!’.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-1
p. 21