PUPPETRY AND ILLUSION
PAPER SKY: A Love Story
directed by Kate Parker and Julie Nolan
Red Leap Theatre, NZ
at Downstage Theatre, Wellington
From 2 Nov 2012 to 17 Nov 2012
Reviewed by Lynn Freeman, 7 Nov 2012
originally published in Capital Times
Red Leap Theatre's production of The Arrival remains one of the most memorable, remarkable, technically complex and beautiful productions this country has seen. It was epic, filling the Opera House stage. Paper Sky is a very intimate piece, best seen up close and personal. The mix of puppetry and illusion is still there in this love story about a lonely bereaved writer whose rituals are disturbed by a woman who moves in next door.
The fantasy world the fragile Henry writes about on sheets of paper is portrayed with paper puppets and vast sheets of paper that are massive waves one moment and snow covered mountains the next. His central character is a young woman, Lumina lives in a precarious world and gradually her world merges with his own. Louise is the catalyst for Henry having to face up to the tragedy, where he couldn't save the woman he loved from drowning, that lead him to his solitary life.
The cast devised the work and they are all exceptional in their roles: Emmett Skilton, Julia Croaft, Veronica Brady, Alison Bruce and Justin Haiu. This is genuine ensemble work in action, and their performances are peppered with fun moments and nuances that make it worth seeing again.
This is a play with few words but the way emotions are expressed, with such physicality and honesty, they would just get in the way. It's in many ways a simple story, but often that's all love stories need to be. The production is so very clever, it's magical, it's moving and it's charming.
John Verryt's set design allows the walls of Henry's and Louise's apartment to circle around each other. The sofa swallows up people then spits them out, nothing feels fixed or certain. Andrew McMillan's soundscape, both music (composed with Claire Cowan) and sound effects, and Jeremy Fern's lighting, add layers to the tale of Henry, his past and new love, and his fictional heroine.
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See also reviews by:
Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post);
Paul Simei-Barton (New Zealand Herald);