The last show on the 2019 London Flamenco Festival. The show that won the Critic’s choice Award (Giraldillo) on the Bienal of Seville in 2016. Reason to go already. Plus I’ve never seen Patricia Guerrero before, so there I was in Sadler’s Wells on 14 July. To see the award winning show, but also to say farewell to the Flamenco Festival until 2020.
Without knowing what “Cathedral” was about, I found the concept interesting to bring flamenco in the Church. Flamenco & religion? Not something I have in my head closely related. So I was impressed to recognise the smell of incense in the theatre as the show started and nuns appeared on stage. The second surprise came from suddenly listening to voices of the Church: two gentlemen dressed in red as priests, singing chants. The atmosphere was created. How does flamenco come here?
Patricia describes Cathedral as reflection on freeing from religious and social barriers of life. The struggle of a woman with her demons, in a world of phantoms, light and shadow. The “moment to let go of the dogmas that sometimes make us forget who we are”.
Flamenco was her way of expressing this emotional battle, to show us her “insight on freedom”. I liked her dance in general, but I missed everybody else. There were 3 dancers, 2 percussionists, 1 flamenco singer, 2 tenors and 1 guitarist, yet, I had the feeling that it was only about the main dancer. Which is fine, of course, it’s her own show. On other shows though you get to see the musicians perform alone or have their little solos, the dancers normally have a few dances without the principal dancer. Not here. The dancers had one short dance without Patricia, this was probably the only time during the 90 minute performance that she had left the stage for a few minutes. Incredible strength to dance through the entire performance though.
Excellent musicians accompanying her; I only recognised Agustín Diassera on percussion, and José Ángel Carmona singing.
It was not the most traditional show all in all, it was focused on a very specific topic in a very specific setting, but receiving huge applause from the audience.
The festival finished with Patricia Guerrero after two weeks of flamenco packed programme in Sadler’s Wells and the Lilian Baylis studio, and it will be greatly missed. The director of the festival Miguel Marín expressed his doubts in an interview about changing the date of the festival from February to July after 15 years. Well, Miguel, although I don’t know the sale numbers, the theatre seemed pretty full to me every single day, and I have to say, I loved going to see flamenco when it’s not cold and dark, but hot and light, just like it would be in Spain.
So see you all again next July on Rosebery Avenue!
Hasta la próxima!