A young girl,  a vivid night of dreams and a tale of transition and awakening. Welcome to Shadowland. A place where elephants, jelly fish and mad cap circus performers twist and turn, for our enjoyment,  silhouetting themselves against a shadowed screen.

Shadow_IMG_7845_Emmanuel DonnyThis coming-of-age story, however simple, doesn’t detract from the visually stunning elements of the show. Pilobolus has created a beautiful piece of art. The establishment of a dream world  at the beginning of the performance allows magical subversion. It becomes acceptable for an omniscient hand to narrate change amongst the characters, for centaurs to walk the earth and  a giant cooking pot to come to life.

David Poe has done a wonderful job composing the music. It is transformative and engaging. Neil Patel has cleverly designed a ramshackle shell of seemingly eclectic, random objects spreading across the stage- much like the backstage of an old Hollywood theatre, and yet…. every light, rope, lobster cutout and frame is used to sculpt the tale. There is a very cinematic feel to the piece.

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The Pilobous dance troupe are excellent. The moments of contemporary choreography where the dance troupe travel to the front of the stage not only changes the pace of the performance but reminds us of the incredible talent behind the screen. This work is not simple. Every shape requires arms, legs and torso’s to be positioned with perfection. Their appearances remind us that they are both technical crew and story tellers.

The show finishes with a tributary vignette to the Australian landscape. The main character goes surfing, travelling through the outback and meeting furry friends such as kangaroos and Koalas. This is where Pilobolus shines, revealing clearly that perhaps their greatest skill lies in short sequenced action full of charming humour and warmth.

Lee Anderson – Theatre Now

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