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Brazillian dance glory

PUBLISHED: 18:17 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 17:28 16 August 2010

THE appropriately named Meson Don Felipe in The Cut, outside the Young Vic gazes down at the Spanish speaking dancers from the Brazilian community in the

THE appropriately named Meson Don Felipe in The Cut, outside the Young Vic gazes down at the Spanish speaking dancers from the Brazilian community in the South East in their multi-coloured costumes, as they perform the traditional dances from the Festa Junina in Brazil.

Ethnic food and drink are offered from an Al Fresco bar. A band on the balcony of the theatre provide the infectious rhythms for the dancers.

Then they lead us into the theatre where a hundred performers crowd the stage to enact the pantomime story of the wicked rancher and the star crossed lovers, surrounded by the spirits of the forest, as they tell the story of the old and new Amazonian culture meeting head to head. We see the rancher (Emilio Doorgasingh) living the high life on the back of his illegal activities, despoiling the forest and brutalising the simple people living there.

But when his daughter becomes pregnant and plans to marry a penniless villager he explodes in anger and persuades his partner in crime to provide his openly gay son as a substitute husband.

This evil plan is trounced at the last minute by the intervention of the forest spirits, and the timely arrival of the Man From UNESCO who together force a swift change of heart in the chastened rancher. Amid much laughter, the gay bridegroom runs off with a cowboy and the daughter is united with her sweetheart at the altar of the simple church in the village. Spilling out into the street we are invited to join in the celebrations and the band whips the dancers and the bystanders into the true spirit of the Festa. The Young Vic and Peoples Palace Projects combine their talents to provide a unique insight into rural Brazilian culture and a truly hands on experience for the audience.

Look out for AMAZONIA at the same theatre (November 27 to January 24) when the Young Vic will be transformed into a magical rainforest for a really different Christmas show for all ages, and hopefully Festa Junina will return next year to brighten any dark spells in our London summer. Edward Martyn

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