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Flash Review 2, 9-10: Hit Me
Camut Beat Launches New Victory Season with a Hit

By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2001 Darrah Carr

The New Victory is the Harry Potter of theater -- inviting both children and adults to experience the magic of live performance and sparking the imagination of a new generation of audience members. On Friday, it opened its 2001-2002 season with the Camut Band in "Life is Rhythm," an all-male, all-percussive show from Barcelona. For over an hour, the five performers kept the rhythm rolling from fast footwork, to vocal percussion, to African drumming.

Throughout the evening, the ensemble reveled in the sheer delight of making noise and persistently explored the use of different parts of the body as percussive tools. The opening sequence featured three dancers tapping atop giant drum heads, their feet mirroring the hands of the musicians. Following the boisterous beginning, Guillem Alonso performed the solo "Sand Dance," the evening's most dramatic work. Alonso filled a small box first with sand, then with his ever shifting, sliding rhythms. His sound was at one moment a car skidding on gravel, next a DJ spinning records, then a tap dancer challenging drummer Jordi Satorra to a rhythmic duel. Lluis Mendez, Toni Espanol, and Rafael Mendez later performed "The Table," an extremely impressive display of mouth music. Seated around a small coffee table, they created a cacophonous conversation of nonsense syllables, each more complex than the last.

Perhaps the most engaging feature of the Camut Band, however, is that it literally got the audience engaged. We were encouraged to clap not just along with the ensemble's rhythms, but also in response to the rhythms. Thus, we were given the challenge of call and response and of creating sound patterns ourselves. In the three part "Kiting Kita," Espanol addressed the audience and guided us through the process of hand and vocal response. After a while, I felt our numerous trials grew a bit tedious, having the feeling of an in-school test, or an after-school special. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the audience was wildly enthusiastic--kids laughing, adults nodding their heads -- proving that life is rhythm, rhythm is infectious, and the Camut Band is a hit! The company is on view at the New Victory through September 23. For more information, please visit the New Victory web site.


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