Friday, April 26, 2013 A Cabaret with Ghosts.

Ay, Carmela! Musical.


The ghosts of the memory of Paulino, the old, defeated comedian, are back on stage a quarter of a century after they premiered. And now with "music in the bones" to once again build a story about dignity and defeat, although differently. Well adapted by José Luis García Sánchez, José Sanchis Sinisterra's work acquires new dimensions upon developing the latent musical content of this show. Under the direction of Andrés Lima, not unlike a Berlin cabaret especially at the beginning, and the formidable Marta Ribera, as the mistress of ceremonies, narrator and catalyst of action, all of which, yet again, confirms her as a theater actress who sings, dances, acts and does everything well. CABARET CON FANTASMAS

The mixture of old songs and music composed for the occasion by Victor Manuel, Pedro Guerra, Vanesa Martín and Joan Valent is very attractive, and works wonderfully in a musical landscape in which the leitmotif is in an elegiac version of "Suspiros de España" (Sighs of Spain) and the dramatic (touch), "Ay Carmela!" evoked in the title. Magnificent too is the dovetail link of "Funiculí, funiculá" and the popular song "Fiel espada triunfadora" (Loyal triumphant sword), as well as the contrasting musical piece "Jarama Valley" sung by a member of the International Brigades along with "Giovinezza," sung by the Italian captain. A couple of chronological observations should be pointed out: the Habanera "Yo te diré" was composed in 1945 (lyrics by Enrique Llovet and music by Jorge Halpern) for Antonio Roman's movie "Los últimos de Filipinas", and therefore couldn't have been sung during the Spanish Civil War which ended in 1939. This is also the case of the amusing rumba "Que viene el coco, mamá", wonderfully interpreted by Inma Cuesta, which was part of the operetta of 1948: "¡A la Habana me voy!", with Antonio and Manuel Paso's libretto and music by Francisco Alonso and Daniel Montorio.

Lima skillfully combines all the elements to come up with an amusing and exciting show, and compelling finish, although the abridgement of the text means that Carmela's involvement with the prisoners of the International Brigades is somewhat unclear. Hence the suicidal gesture of the female singer -who until shortly before, though showing her genius, was trying to survive in the struggle - is not sufficiently justified. The couple, comprised of the leading characters, performs perfectly: Inma Cuesta in her role as Carmela is charming and sensual with her beautiful, melodic voice. Likewise, Javier Gutiérrez does a great job, conferring upon his character Paulino, an enthusiasm tinged with helplessness and desolate humor that wins over the audience. The rest of the cast performs efficiently, harmonically and sharply. CABARET CON FANTASMAS 2