Zocalo Toronto News



The Weeping Salsa's story of lost love turmoil is not for the faint of heart. Writer, co-director, performer and composer Vladimir Jon Cubrt presents a dark meditation on the power dynamics between ex-lovers Danny (Cubrt) and Adele (Donna Christo). Cubrt successfully trasitions from drama to Latin dance with routines that track the instances of their volatile relationship like a ticking time bomb. Amid the lovers' harsh disputes, he exposes human weakness and pushes the boundaries between love and violence.

Confining two players to a set of one room, Cubrt begins by jolting viewers with Adele's echoing hysterics as she wakes in Danny's apartment. A "slave in his domain," as he calls her, Adele is drugged and abducted. The scenes of confinement are mixed with flashbacks from eight years earlier, of Adele and Danny rehearsing for the Canada Salsa Congress, just days before their relationship ends.

Cubrt reveals the dark side of love, and however cliche that may sound, it's presented through raw and honest emotion. As Danny, he torments Adele with his constant suspicions, exposing his weakening mental state from consuming paranoia. Christo also effectively conveys Adele's fear and desperation as Danny forces her to rehash their ill-fated relationship. In a bold move, the use of dance complements the narrative: the Cha Cha, beneath the sinister beats of Fiona Apple's "Sleep to Dream", defines a chase between Adele and Danny, establishing their push-pull, hot-cold dynamic, while the title piece by Cubrt is haunting when spins and quick steps turn drastically violent. Throughout, Christo's intricate footwork and flexibility seem effortless.

As a voyeur within a small, intimate theatre, you might find yourself holding your breath while the intense contemplations and arguments ensue. And, following this long, obsessive struggle, the drama ends without a sense of closure. Instead, we're left considering how easily love can veer towards the twisted, violent and disturbing. By Kate Doyle