Dreamworld (Previously Zumba Gold) (Pleasance Courtyard)
Updated: Jul 19, 2022
There are various professions that require you to put on a performance; teaching, customer service, and, apparently, being a Zumba instructor. In Amelia Gann’s one-woman show Zumba Gold we meet Cathy – an instructor who leads a class of the Latin-dance craze to older folk. But buried beneath her pained enthusiasm, she dreams of putting her talents to better use and becoming a star. We see her reminisce on missed opportunities, grow bitter, and set her sights on an opportunity that could make or break her career.
Often the undoing of stories like this is they become too predictable; our heroine will try her best, perform her heart out, and even if she doesn’t succeed she will still learn a valuable lesson. But for Zumba Gold, this is not so. Cathy is not just ambitious, she’s obsessive. She’s not endearing, she’s neurotic and self-centred. That said she is not necessarily a villain, but finds that sweet spot where’s she’s entertaining without needing to work her way into the audience’s favour. We are happy to watch her succeed or fail and assume either outcome will be entertaining.
And what an outcome it is. There are turns in the story that come as a surprise but are never so outlandish that they derail the performance. For a show that is only 45 minutes it certainly packs a lot of energy, but the pacing never feels rushed. The only slight dent in the performance is the use of third-person narration – where it becomes difficult to tell the difference between this detached narrator and the character of Cathy – the two are too similar to be read independently.
If there was any word to describe this performance it would be bouncy. Gann’s energy, and genuine talent as a dancer, make her perfectly suited to this bite-sized performance and its antihero. It’s clear that she is made to do this kind of performance – which is lucky because if Zumba Gold is anything to go by she would be a danger to the public in any other profession. Four stars.
Whispers from the Crowd:
I loved it! I thought she was amazing. A great dancer.
A brilliant writer. All encapsulating story. I’d see it again.