Theatre Review: MATADOR is a fiery fusion of dance and burlesque

MATADOR is a Spanish dance extravaganza tale of forbidden love, desires and pain. First presented in 2022, MATADOR is back in Adelaide’s first theatre, the Queen’s Theatre. With 14 performers on a stage that extends out into the cafe-style VIP seating area, it is a credit to the production team that they managed to present such a performance in a relatively small space.

The entertainment begins before the show with paella-style Spanish food available and a three-piece live cabaret performance in the waiting area. Soon the audience is invited into the main area of the Theatre, which has been transformed into a scene straight from Seville. Once everyone is seated, the show begins with an intensity that barely lets up for the duration of the show.

The cast is divided equally between male and female and the costumes are breathtakingly sultry and sexy. Performers appear on stage, up above, on raised platforms amongst the audience and from the side wings. This is truly an immersive experience. A pounding contemporary score adds to the energy. Dancers give way to acrobats spinning overhead. The Matador appears and is the centre of the cast with individual stories. There are stories of love, love lost, forbidden love, passionate love. Familiar songs are given modern treatments, while the dancing is passionate and energetic.

There is plenty of breathing room in the show to allow individual dancers or pairs of dancers to shine. Costume changes happen so fast that it’s hard to believe that there was time to change. AS soon as one dance is finished, another begins. Sometimes it is hard to know where to look, in case you miss a dancer at the back of the stage, while action is also happening near the front. The simple set, reminiscent of a Spanish street, is cleverly lit to draw focus from one area to another.

Overhead, various acrobats, or again even pairs of acrobats, perform a style of lovemaking in the air. It truly is a celebration of love in all it’s forms. The performances are cheeky, sultry and emotional in turn.

There is a short interval before the action begins again. Audience participation is encouraged, with plenty of clapping and encouraging shouts of support. Whilst the dialogue is minimal, the music and movement tell the stories. Before you realise the show is over and the audience are giving a standing ovation. For those with VIP tickets, the entertainment carries on for another couple of hours.

MATADOR definitely rekindles the fire inside, with its sultry Spanish heritage.

The reviewer attended opening night on 5th May


MATADOR plays at Queen’s Theatre until May 28 – tickets here