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Theatre Review by Lisa Romeo
What: Shadowland
Where: Arts Centre Melbourne
When: 28 May – 1 June
Artistic Directors: Robby Barnett, Michael Tracy
Performers: Pilobolus Dance Troupe
Written by: Steven Banks
Composer: David Poe
Set Designer: Neil Patel
Costume Designer: Liz Prince
It is hard not to have noticed the theatre sensation Shadowland which is now playing at the glamorous Melbourne Arts Centre - the advertising has been extensive for months. Direct from the USA it has been seen by over 500,000 people worldwide, and with great anticipation I now understand the hype and excitement that surrounds it. Shadowland is extravagant and incomparable to anything I have ever seen.
For the first time in Australia the Dance troupe Pilobolus present a unique mix of shadow theatre, modern and classical dance, circus and concert. Incorporating multiple moving screens of different sizes and shapes that merge projected images and front-of-screen choreography, the performers transform themselves into exotic and beautiful creatures and the stage is turned into an entrancing and mystical place, stimulating our senses of sight and sound. It also impacts greatly on the imagination and takes you to a land of dreams and enchantment.
Along with rich visual beauty there is also a story told that stirs the emotions. A teenage girl, coming of age, longs for independence, whilst her parents cannot let go of their little darling. Restless and full of thoughts she prepares herself for bed and doses off into slumber only to be confronted by something lurking behind her bedroom wall — her own shadow. The walls of her room suddenly turn into a surreal dream, and she falls deeper and deeper into this new world of discovery, the Shadowland.
Music producer and composer David Poe collaborated with lead writer Steven Banks to create a universal and intimately beautiful experience with a touch of comedy and intense dramatics. The range of music, including pop ballads and rock, compliments the evocative dancing beautifully; the performers are gorgeous, their movements are as smooth as liquid and appear to be effortless, whilst the acrobatics are strong and dynamic.
The shadow theatre is breathtaking and simply stunning as well as being original and innovative. After several years of experimentation of the short shadow form, and over 100 choreographic works performed in over 64 countries, internationally acclaimed Pilobolus Dance Troupe are seducing audiences all over the world.
Shadowland has been featured on the 79th Annual Academy Awards, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. This show is clever, brilliant and pure entertainment. With only 4 more nights left, I recommend you don’t miss this one.
5 Stars
To watch a preview of the show click HERE