Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
It’s tempting to describe Gala Hispanic Theatre’s current revue as a celebration of the human derriere. The theme first rears up when the program falls open to an ad featuring bulbous cheeks emerging from a Rio-style panty (“Put some Bossa in your bumbum!!”), thrusts itself into the spotlight again during a sketch wherein Miss Brazil loses the Miss Universe pageant to Miss U.S.A. because of 2 inches of beauteous trunk junk, and otherwise waggles its way through a couple of hours via a callipygian cast clad in hypermeticulously tailored costumes (by Alessandra D’Ovidio). Behind all the caboose action is a plot, sort of: A narration and brief vignettes play out the history of Brazil’s past 50 years, as reflected in its popular music. Director Hugo Medrano gracefully stages the domestic slapstick, protest scenes, and other interludes between exuberant musical numbers choreographed by Sylvia Martins and Camila Karam; if there were minor pacing problems on opening night, they won’t be exacerbated over the play’s run by the blocking, choreography, or Hector Torres’ ingenious two-level set. The 11-member cast, backed by a six-person band, excels at both song and dance, performing the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso, and a host of creators less well-known to North American audiences. Brasil: As Coisas do Samba is a delightful evening, even if you toss off the interpretive headset and ignore the nonmusical exposition: It takes names (Che Guevara, Uncle Sam), but mostly—and winningly—it kicks ass. —Pamela Murray Winters