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Oval House, London

4 -14 Dedember 2002

5 - 22 February 2003

Arts Depot at The Bull, London - 6 - 9 November 2003

Lyric Hammersmith, London - 9 - 27 March 2004 

"Insanely Magical" - Time Out Critic’s Choice

THE PIRANHA LOUNGE was based on the stories of Murilo Rubião, the first Brazilian writer of the genre magical realism. The play transformed a small studio theatre into a seedy after-hours club where audience members, sitting at dimly lit tables, meet the strange characters of Rubião's stories. Be prepared to encounter horny Kangaroos, ex-magicians, sadists, the living dead and many others in this late-night shebeen. Their stories are told using an enormous range of theatre techniques. Be prepared to be surprised by the minute, laugh and be touched by the melancholia of the Lounge. Based on the stories of Murilo Rubiao, the first Brazilian Magical Realist writer, the Piranha Lounge is a place where dreams are waiting to come true.

Premiered at the Oval House Theatre in December 2002, the show returned for another sell-out run at the Oval in 2003 receiving a Time Out Critic’s Choice review, it was then presented at The Bull in Barnett (now Arts Depot) before transfering to the the Lyric Hammersmith for another three-week run in March 2004. 


Rubião, the first Brazilian writer of the style commonly known as Magical Realism, wrote and re-wrote the same short stories during all his life (1916-1991). They deal with the real and the unreal – animals, dragons, human beings alive and dead appear and disappear, talk, touch and exist in an almost casual yet fantastic realism. Kafkaesque, one might say of these stories, but they belong to another tradition of fantastic literature – a South American one. The element that most clearly separates him from his counterpart from Prague is a gently pervasive, unmasked sensuality. Murilo Rubião has one book translated in English – The Ex-Magician and Other Stories, published by Harper & Row.


During three months the company was immersed in the work of Rubião. Several of his stories were read and adapted. Six remain in the final version of the show: The Moon, The Three Names of Godofredo, The Dragons, The Trap, Teleco – The Rabbit & Barbara. Characters and names are based in Rubião’s characters even if their stories are not told in the show.



Cast and Creative Team

Directed/ Set Design & Masks by Andre Pink
Based on the stories of the Brazilian Magical Realist Murilo Rubião
Devised by the company
Final text by Mark O’Thomas
Set Designer Assistants: Hiroe Komai and Pedro de Senna
Set Construction and Electrician:Robert Smith
Music: Mark O’Thomas & Andre Pink 
Lighting Design by Christopher Pye
Costumes by each actor/ character

Performed by: 

Vania Cardoso

Richard Eton

Montserrat Gili

Bob Karper

George Keeler

Catherine Mobley

Patrizia Paolini

Pancho Cappeletti

Mark Reed

Akiko Sato

Pedro de Senna

Hiroe Take

Frank Wurzinger




"...after an inspirational hour and a half inside the insanely magical Piranha Lounge, the only criticism you are likely to make is that you have to leave it too soon."

Lucy Powell - Time Out’s Critic’s Choice Review


"The Piranha Lounge is an enjoyable celebration of theatre and life's possibilities and it takes you so completely into another world that you depart the theatre blinking as if awakening from a very strange dream."

Lyn Gardner - The Guardian


"...What is most exciting about the production is the constant inventiveness with each story is told. Using a whole range of props, costumes, masks and puppets the cast constantly change the way they interact with the audience, experimenting all the time with the relationship between the performer, the text and how they are perceived.... The Latin Heat of The Piranha Lounge is the perfect antidote to the bitter cold of London in Winter."

Jaspre Bark - WHAT'S ON in London’s ***** review