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Dressdown Sunday

PUBLISHED: 17:26 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 17:19 16 August 2010

STREET STYLE: A scene from Havana Rumba!

STREET STYLE: A scene from Havana Rumba!

THE creators of a Cuban musical do not let a good story get in the way of the dancing, writes Marina Soteriou. Havana Rumba! is a low-budget production celebrating Cuba s musical legacy with a little history thrown in. The dancing is great, but unfortu

THE creators of a Cuban musical do not let a good story get in the way of the dancing, writes Marina Soteriou.

Havana Rumba! is a low-budget production celebrating Cuba's musical legacy with a little history thrown in.

The dancing is great, but unfortunately the production isn't. We learn that Cubans like rum, smoke cigars, drive 1950s yank-tanks, enjoy dancing, leave the island on home-made rafts and end up in Miami with rubbish jobs. So if it is enlightenment on Cuban culture you are after, you'll be disappointed.

But on the other hand if it is unashamedly loud and brash fun you're after then head to the Riverside Studios. We learn that the Cubans' African ancestors, who worked as slaves on the island only had one day off a year and on that day they danced - a fertility dance.

Like the main character Papito, men fight for women "not with knives but with their feet".

Proceedings begin on a Havana street where every Sunday people of all ages gather to dance rumba. The four female dancers storm the stage in what look like Primark hot-pants and tight tops. Their bodies ooze power, grace and sensuality.

But the costumes are disappointing, with the only authentic-looking one - a beautiful brown, striped dress - spotted towards the very end.

Maybe they are trying to portray what people in Havana actually wear today, discounting the fact that Primark has not become the first store to break the communist ban on western shops.

Despite its faults, the show does keep the audience entertained. The dancing continues at the Riverside Studios, in Crisp Road, Hammersmith, until May 3. Tickets, at £10, are available for each show, with full-price tickets at £20 and £16 for concessions. Call the box office on 020 8237 1111.


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