Image from Fringe World Festival

A Pelican review by Crystal Ngo. 

What a way to kick start FRINGE WORLD! A show with a combination of comedy, dance, and storytelling that will leave you in hysterics. A Girl From Rio takes you through a story that introduces heartbreak, clapping with your hands in the air and laughing out loud (literally).

Photo of Marcus Tranjan by Crystal Ngo

The moment Marcus Tranjan walked on stage and began the show, I thought –

“Where’s the girl from Rio?”

Having had no idea what to expect, I sat back, sipped on my refreshing beverage, and enjoyed a uniquely hilarious story of A Girl From Rio.

A Girl From Rio follows the story of a young dancer named Carolina who decides to move from her unsafe and overcrowded home in Rio de Janeiro to Perth.

Marcus Tranjan, the narrator of the story, uses a combination of satire and music to display the good, the bad and the ugly parts of a woman who tries to find her place in a new city.

The show compiled an array of coulourful outfits, fantastic dance moves, and booty-shakes (what more could you want?). Apart from the entertaining combination of comedy, storytelling, dance, and whimsical fashion choices; A Girl From Rio tells the story of the hardships immigrants face when moving to a new country. Such as, the difficulties in culture shock, finding a new job, and discovering that Australians worship a black salty spread called Vegemite.

Back in Rio, Carolina was an admired and respected dancer. Being a dancer in Brazil is highly favoured for its cultural significance. Unfortunately, one of the profound difficulties Carolina faced when coming to Australia was the cultural stigma of dancers. So instead, Carolina’s first job was being a cleaner.

Photo of Marcus and Carolina after A Girl in Rio by Crystal Ngo

Marcus, outraged by the cultural stigma of dancers, combines forces with Carolina to celebrate their culture through comedy, song, and dance. Though a devastating story with a happy ending, A Girl From Rio demonstrates a well-crafted setup with hilarious drama sprinkled through. In addition, the show was interactive, with Carolina bringing up people to dance and encouraging audience members to throw their arms in the air (like they just don’t care).

I applaud Fringe World for inviting artists worldwide and creating an inclusive space where they can express their creativity and love for the performing arts. In Carolina’s case, she could dance to her heart’s desire and do what she loves in her new home.

Although Marcus Tranjan mentions it was their first show, he played it off like it was one of many. He was a charismatic host, a wonderful storyteller, and a hilarious comedian.

I learned four things from A Girl From Rio: Brazilians dislike Argentinians, Marcus’s big crush on Ricky Martin, Rio has terrible traffic, and that many people move to Australia from their unsafe homes to seek a better life for themselves.

Oh, and the worst thing to say to an immigrant is “Get out of my country.”

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