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María Adamuz and Miquel Fernández star in the musical 'Tocando nuestra canción'. Marilú Báez
Antonio Banderas stages his funniest and most sophisticated Broadway musical show so far at his Malaga theatre
Culture

Antonio Banderas stages his funniest and most sophisticated Broadway musical show so far at his Malaga theatre

The city-born actor and director relies on a lively script, brilliant staging and starring roles by María Adamuz and Miquel Fernández, in his latest production at the Caixabank Soho Theatre

Francisco Griñán

Malaga

Friday, 7 June 2024, 16:00

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He said he wrote it to "escape" from the world. And his plays provided the same relief for millions of viewers. Neil Simon earned the crown of the 'king of comedy' and that's why Antonio Banderas has sought him out as his 'odd couple' for his new production at the Caixabank Soho Theatre, 'Tocando Nuestra Canción' (They're Playing Our Song).

His third production as a musical director (after A Chorus Line and Company) is his most playful, most carefree and freshest. Its premiere on Thursday, in the midst of the early summer breeze, came at a good and timely moment. With modern staging that brings back the humour and romance of the seventies by Simon, along with the music of Marvin Hamlisch and the lyrics of Carole Bayer Sager. A successful trio for this festive, light, and sophisticated version of romantic relationships. Humour in legitimate entertainment.

As in Company, in 'Tocando Nuestra Canción' there are no popular songs or choruses that are part of the collective memory of the audience. Here, the strength lies in the ensemble. Starting with the cast, led by María Adamuz and Miquel Fernández. She, an actress with infectious comedic flair, and he, demonstrating that humour is a serious matter.

She is explosive. He is pure irony. Both fit perfectly into their leading roles as the author Sonia and the composer Vernon, who stumble upon each other and create lyrics and music. They are also supported by the choreography of Borja Rueda and a chorus of eight actors who serve as their alter egos, expressing aloud the doubts and insecurities that plague this couple every time they have to make a decision.

As he did in A Chorus Line, Banderas once again takes a play that speaks of the theatre and the spectacle itself. And here the ego, uncertainty and success are on parade, while at the same time he talks about something as universal and current as love, exes, dependencies and toxic relationships. But there is no deep discourse or message. Rather, a story of entertainment and Simon-esque evasion with sparkling, sarcastic and hilarious dialogues. Pure fantasy of the kind that is no longer written.

Amidst words and banter between the couple, the entire fanfare of a ten-piece live band directed by Olga Domínguez fills the air. They perform under a playful movable stage scenery that the actors themselves manoeuvre, while lighting and projections alter the set. If there's one downside, it's that the end of the first act loses some steam. But this piece, with theatrical and musical simplicity, manages to entertain.

The audience applauded and laughed loudly, as if it were opening night. And the stage was not the only the place to see notable people. Banderas' musical lived up to expectations with the presence of numerous representatives of culture, business, politics and Malaga society, including the President of the Regional Government, Juanma Moreno.

The director of the show appeared on stage at the end and, naming one by one, brought up every last member of a team of more than fifty people to share in the success. The final takeaway is that the Soho Theatre doesn't need Antonio to lead the cast for his presence to be felt. It already has its own style. And there's plenty more musical theatre to come on Calle Córdoba, that corner of the billboard where a certain Banderas reigns, ambassador of the classic Broadway show.

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