Bass Fam chats MATADOR: LA EXPERIENCIA

MATADOR: La Experiencia takes the sellout theatrical experience and amps it up. Before the show, stroll through the Spanish market stalls, grabbing street food while you enjoy live music from Stefania Serna and her band. The main event is an electric fusion of burlesque, dance and jaw-dropping circus acts, reworked from previous iterations of the show – even if you’ve seen MATADOR before, it hasn’t been like this.

The show takes us on an emotionally charged journey through love and its many faces; from the first moments you lay your eyes on that someone special, the butterflies, the flirting and sometimes, the doubt. A journey of self-discovery, identity and sexuality, of lust, sex and passion. It also explores the trials and tribulations of love, from the pain of unrequited love to the effects of infidelity on a relationship. MATADOR is a celebration of love, friendship and the bonds that hold us together.

MATADOR: La Experiencia is the brainchild of Bass G Fam, and he is absolutely thrilled to be bringing this explosive new version of the show to Melbourne.

Bass G Fam

Originally from a fine arts background, Bass is a passionate story teller at heart, a dreamer and an all-round creative with a colourful career spanning over a decade, with his work showcased around the world. Bass took a childhood hobby of illustration and design and enhanced his skills at RMIT University where he discovered his passion for communicating messages through visual art.  After graduating, he founded Bass Fam Creative, a multi service design agency providing creative services ranging from graphics, web design, digital illustration, photography and theatre design. His design client list includes Dannii Minogue, L’Oréal Professional Australia, Dracula’s Cabaret Gold Coast, Chadstone Shopping Centre, Star Observer, Patrick Studios Australia, and Slippery Stone Bali to name a few.

Bass made a name for himself in the theatre world when he worked on campaigns, stage designs and costumes for numerous clients and theatre shows such as ‘Le Male’ an all-male burlesque dance show, ‘Sydney After Dark’ at Planet Hollywood, Vegas and ‘Chadstone Christmas Stories’ in support of The Startlight Children’s Foundation at Chadstone Shopping Centre. Bass decided to produce his first independent show: MATADOR, a personal open letter to lovers and friends, an entertaining, fiery fusion of burlesque, dance and circus acts inspired by his real-life experiences. In 2019 MATADOR was hugely successful and performed sold out seasons in four Australian capital cities: The Melba Spiegeltent in Melbourne, Sydney Opera House, The Tivoli Brisbane and Adelaide Festival Centre.

How have you found revising MATADOR after several years?

Bass: This is the third version of Matador. To be able to take it beyond Matador, the show, and make it about the experience I think is really exciting. It’s so exciting to keep reinventing this show. It has been a hit with audiences and critics from day one. So it’s like, how do you come back and give them something else to be excited about? How do you evolve the show? How do you explore the vulnerabilities and the rawness of it, but also amp up the fun aspect of it, the entertaining aspect? So what we’re doing as well with this one is we’re listening to the audience. The audience want more Spanish, more of our original music and more burlesque, they want more cheekiness, and we’re doing it this season. There is definitely a lot more cheekiness… let’s leave it at that [laughs]. We’ve had a lot of fun with it.

Has the show changed since it was last in Melbourne?

Bass: The storyline is the same, the couples are the same, the whole idea of the bull and the matador being the core of the story with the rest of the couples kind of representing different ways of looking at that one relationship… all of that has stayed the same. But we’re exploring something a little bit deeper in this one, instead of it just being about finding your better half. It’s about finding yourself. The message of this season is a very personal one, and I think all the performers really relate to it. It’s looking at yourself for the love. It’s looking at yourself to complete yourself. Yes, it’s a love story. Yes, it has all of those different couples. But the actual numbers are more focused on finding that love from within before you find it from someone else. And in doing so, we’ve explored so many things. So, the whole opening sequence is a brand new song, brand new edit, it’s Spanish. The show features so much more Spanish. We’ve got new tracks, we’ve got a new guest choreographer, Jordan Charles Herbert, who has joined us for this season alongside Gerard Pigg our OG commercial choreographer, and our 10 time Salsa World Champion choreographer Mario Acosta. Josephine Magliolo, who’s our lead choreographer and assistant Director, has put so many spins on each of the numbers and the story telling…so it’s very immersive now. The show doesn’t just happen on stage or above you anymore – it happens from within the seats of the audience. The cast come out through the new seating plan that we’ve got, it’s not the audience watching a show: they’re in the show. But aside from that, it’s not just Matador as a show anymore. It’s Matador: La Experiencia. So it’s a full experience. The doors open an hour and a half before the show even starts and you walk through a Spanish market that we’ve built, with churro stands and tapas and paella and sangria stands; you can actually walk through and purchase food and merchandise.  And while that’s happening, there is Stefania Serna, who is an incredible Spanish singer, singing live with a guitarist and an aerialist for an hour and a half. So it’s a full dinner and show experience. I feel like the past three years have all kind of brought us to this moment – it’s all been a work in progress to see the full vision of Matador come to life.

MATADOR: La Experiencia is taking place at The Meat Market, which is quite a unique venue compared to the more conventional spaces you’ve previously played in.

Bass: We’re making full use of that. Everything from the cobblestones when you walk in, to the beautiful vintage festoons that we’ve got hanging above your head… it’s going to give that illusion from the second you step into the venue, that you’re transported to a beautiful village in Spain. Just walking into the venue and smelling that beautiful, chargrilled, smoky smell of the paella and the chorizo. It’s not just watching art and listening to it, it’s all the senses. And that’s I think that’s what I’ve wanted when I wrote the show – I wanted it to be this massive. I wrote the frameworks of the show in Barcelona when I was on holidays, and I was drinking sangria, and eating tapas, and getting lost in the little cobblestone side streets in La Rambla. I wanted to take that whole experience that really inspired me when I was writing it, and bring that back.

The show is running for several weeks – is this the longest season MATADOR has seen?

Bass: It’s our first big season in Melbourne since our premiere in 2019. We always do just one week and, again, we’ve listened to audience members who have said that one week is hard because if they’ve got something on they can’t come and they miss out. So that’s why we’re doing three weeks, which is very exciting. I think that’s been the reason why we’ve been feeling secure enough to come back again and again and again with Matador, because every time we come back, people relate to it. Even at the Athenaeum in December, people loved it. People loved being there, and loved seeing the show again, and seeing the resilience of the cast and the crew and the team to push through the times that we’re in to tell these stories.

Why should audiences come and see MATADOR: LA EXPERIENCIA?

Bass:  It’s the show that people have fallen in love with since 2019… but bigger, with so much more heart and love, new cast members, new creatives, and all wrapped up in a magical 3 hour experience. It’s what we’re really lacking in the world at the moment –  it gives hope, it entertains, it inspires and it gives us all of those things that I think humanity in general is really lacking at the moment. So, we’re excited for the season ahead. We’re excited for people to see how hard we’ve worked to create this version. It’s exciting, it’s daunting, it’s a little bit scary. But hey, that’s show business [laughs].


MATADOR: La Experiencia runs to May 8th at The Meat Market, North Melbourne.

For tickets and more information, visit the Ticketmaster website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *