Trestle / Increpación Danza, Lola

Review in Issue 21-1 | Spring 2009

Trestle were once the country’s premier mask company, making work at the forefront of the growing visual theatre movement of the 80s and 90s. In recent years, the company has relaunched as a kind of unmasked all-thingsto-all-men, clinging to the physical / visual heritage, whilst embracing new writing, stating a desire to create ‘culturally diverse’ work, and dabbling in whatever theatre forms and practices take their fancy (a touch of the Grotowski heritage here; a dash of Indian Kalari there).

In Lola the form explored is flamenco dance, and the vehicle for this the true-life story of 19th century Spanish dancer and ‘adventuress’ Lola Montez (born as the Irishwoman Eliza Gilbert). Apparently, despite her fame, her dancing skills left something to be desired…

There is an intrinsic problem here, a dramaturgical conundrum: how to portray someone who was not the greatest dancer, yet so mesmerising that she convinced everyone who saw her that she was, conquering hearts around the world. The only hope would have been to find an actress-dancer who had the star quality of Lola herself – and although Georgina Roberts is a lively and competent performer, she can’t live up to the expectation placed upon her.

But she does her damnedest in a feisty and fast-paced piece. She’s joined onstage by renowned flamenco guitarist Ricardo Garcia, whose low-key but perfectly pitched performance is one of the joys of the production; and by Fiona Putnam who multi-tasks as Lola’s Irish sister, and as some of her many famous lovers including composer Franz Liszt and the mad, bad King Ludwig 1 of Bavaria.

Competent contemporary devised theatre, but the earth did not move.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-1
p. 29