The Portuguese: a musical for tourists to see

Patrícia Cardoso | Notícias Magazine /

That Portugal has been invaded by a wave of tourists comes as no surprise to anyone. In recent years – above all 2017 – our country (particularly Lisbon) became one of the most popular destinations in Europe, even winning various prizes in this sector.

This is, therefore, the best time to present a show that explains the Portuguese and their history to its visitors. This is the theme for the musical comedy The Portuguese, which premieres this Saturday, 13th January, in the Lisbon Casino’s Oceanos Auditorium. The idea for the show started two years ago, when this boom had not yet even been dreamed of.

A foreign couple arrive in Lisbon and set out on an adventure in the city, where major historic characters tell them about the most important episodes in history.

The idea appeared when they realised that there still had not been any other play along these lines. The explanation is given by the actress Ana Brito e Cunha, who is the artistic director: There are so many sights to see when we go to London or Paris or other cities and in Portugal there aren’t any. Foreigners arrive and want to see things and there are none on offer. So, if there are none, we’ll make them!

A foreign couple arrive in Lisbon and set out on an adventure in the city, where major historic characters tell them about the most important episodes in history. Fernando Pessoa, Amália Rodrigues and Luís de Camões welcome the visitors and recount the exploits of the Portuguese in song.

Filipe Homem Fonseca and Rui Cardoso Martins accepted the invitation to write a play that told of Portugal’s heritage in a satirical tone. It was the first time for Cardoso Martins (journalist, script writer of Contra-Informação, founder of Produções Fictícias and author of the play António e Maria) in the genre and he confesses that he is satisfied with the end result. We have very good actors, excellent singers, a modern scenario, and I hope that the public like the storyline. It is a story with a beginning, middle and end.

For Rui Cardoso Martins, this is a musical comedy inspired and influenced by Broadway revues when they were in their heyday.

The Fado establishments in Alfama, the caravels on the River Tagus and the airport are the scenarios recreated on the LED wall which replaces the usual scenario, an idea of Ana Brito e Cunha to add a contemporary touch to the show. For Cardoso Martins, this is a musical comedy inspired and influenced by Broadway revues when they were in their heyday.

With such a wealth of history, was any character left out? Perhaps one of Portugal’s most beautiful stories, that of Pedro and Inês, but how would we transform this tragedy into something humorous?, asks Rui Cardoso Martins. Even so, who would win in a game of poker between Salazar and James Bond?

The Portuguese will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, at 18h30, in Lisbon Casino’s Oceanos Auditorium. Tickets are on sale in the usual places.

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