Manuelita

Manuelita uses physical theatre, music, storytelling and comedy to tell the story of the lover and co-strategist of Latin America's 19th century revolutionary Simon Bolivar, Manuelita Saenz. Neglected from official Latin American history, she has recently been more widely recognised and was given a state burial in Venezuela in 2010.

Manuelita centres a visually striking hyper-reality around a sexy, charismatic and multi-faceted female lead, and its playful, pacey and poetic interpretation of history will strike a chord with any intrigued by the question, “who wants to hear about the Madonna when you can hear about a whore?”

Clarke demands the audience's attention as she fills the stage, convincingly playing Manuelita throughout her life, in various guises of “the bastard, the beauty, the wife, the whore, the soldier, the loca.” She also uses excellent comic timing to provide humorous snippets of other characters. There is imaginative use of the stage and minimal propping: a chair transforms believably into a horse, among other roles.

At times, Clarke darts around the audience demanding our attention, admiration and compliance, although there is not a lot of audience participation required. The music fits perfectly, swiftly moving between triumphalism, despair and humour, echoing Manuelita's proclaimed need for dance, music and passion.

Manuelita centres a visually striking hyper-reality around a sexy, charismatic and multi-faceted female lead, and its playful, pacey and poetic interpretation of history will strike a chord with any intrigued by the question, “who wants to hear about the Madonna when you can hear about a whore?”

Reviews by Alice Quine

Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

BARBU Electro Trad Cabaret

★★★★★
Sweet Grassmarket

Nell Gwyn: An Epilogue

★★★
C venues - C nova

The Furies

★★
Assembly George Square Theatre

Charlie Baker: Just the One

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Harriet Kemsley: Puppy Fat

★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The revolutionary who captured the spirit of a continent. A tour-de-force by Lecoq-trained Tamsin Clarke, featuring Colombian guitarist Camilo Menjura (2014 Latin UK Awards Musician Of The Year). Blending storytelling, comedy, physical theatre and live music, Manuelita promises Fringe-goers a toe-tapping, heart-swelling lunchtime treat.