“To Dance and Dream in Shadow and Light”
Directly from the USA, Pilobus presents the groundbreaking performance, Shadowland. I had briefly googled Shadowland before I attended this show, but didn’t really know what to expect – dancing, acrobatics, acting and shadows?
The set is quite remarkable, and you sit in front if it waiting for the show to begin wondering what all the pieces will be used for – dressings and shirts hanging from the ceiling, a big screen at the back as well as rolled up in the roof, and lots of other bits and pieces.
The show starts with the dancers/actors literally rolling onto the stage. Not sure where it was going to go, the next 90 minutes held me spellbound. The movement is amazing – such strong dancers, with excellent training evident. The lead dancer, playing a teenaged girl who is seeking more freedom and longs to grow up, shows such control – when she first falls asleep and enters her dream. The Shadowland she enters is full of fabulous images created by the dancers bodies and many clever props. Because they are created in shadows, there are many different sizes – a massive head, for example, or small crabs.
Suddenly a “god-like” arm reaches down and transforms her into a girl with a dog’s snout and ears, created with her arms. At first you are aware that it is her arm, but soon you are swept up into the story.
There are many very funny scenes – where she is riding with her head out a ute’s window, a circus scene with a knife swallower having the knife retrieved – but also some extremely emotional scenes which had me in tears.
The 90 minutes went too fast. At the end of the story they launched into “New York” with some extremely clever and funny acrobatics and shadowplays – a zoo trip, statue of liberty, a plane flight and a taxi ride – until they arrived in Australia, with Men at Work’s “Downunder” playing – Sydney Opera House, a koala and kangaroo complete with babies, and at the end a fabulous thank you to the Brisbane audience.
Simply an outstanding performance, and I am sure that the audience would all agree with me.
Reviewer: Adelle Givney
SHOW DETAILS: SHADOWLAND, QPAC PLAYHOUSE THEATRE, 10.6.2014