AMAZING MUSIC AND DESIGN – BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STORY?
Capital E National Arts Festival|
Creative Producer – Stephen Blackburn
Director – Sara Brodie
Conductor – Grant Cooper
Composer – Gareth Farr
Inspired by the novel by – Witi Ihimaera
at Town Hall, Wellington
From 11 Mar 2013 to 15 Mar 2013
Reviewed by Thomasin McKenzie (age 12), 9 Mar 2013
I have never written a review of a show before. This one was a great way to start!
What were the things I enjoyed most about the show?
The music was amazing. I felt like it was taking me on a journey to a musical forest of my imagination. It was exciting from the moment I sat down in my chair and I got pulled in when the orchestra started playing. While the orchestra was warming up my 6 year old sister said: “It's hurting my ears!” but then as the scary but magical music began she uncurled in her seat and listened all the way through.
I also loved the design and visual part of Skydancer. Images were projected on a screen stretched like a sail or a skin at the back of the huge room. It was amazing how most of the props were made out of paper. Animated sheaves of paper rose into the air… a cello-bird cast a shadow across the ceiling… a puppet-heron died from exposure to pollutants… Thanks to Mary Barber, my Suzuki piano teacher, I recognised the forest of quavers and musical notes on the screen!
The images on the screen and the beautiful costumes and puppetry made the show very visual to match the richness of the storytelling in the music. I also loved the way all the people who were controlling the bird puppets moved in a way that made me feel they truly thought they were the birds. I really liked the cloak and thought the way they put the musical notes on it was beautiful.
One thing I thought the special effects team could have done better was to make the pictures they showed at the end of dead birds and things a bit clearer because I couldn't really tell what they were.
I was curious about Skylark O'Shea and I liked it when she came up front with the conductor. But us kids are shorter than grownups, so we couldn't exactly see what was going on when the cast spent so long at the back of the stage amongst the orchestra!
I loved the moment the orchestra themselves waved huge pieces of paper as though they were a forest or an ocean.
The singing was beautiful as well.
In the programme Stephen Blackburn mentioned Peter and the Wolf. I thought the music was as rich as it is in Peter. But the difference is that in Peter and the Wolf the music is partnered by words to make the story deep. This show is taken from a book and I would have liked to hear or see some of Witi Ihimaera's words in the show.
All in all my overwhelming impression is that this was a great way to experience music and images. But as it is a show for kids I would have liked to understand the story more clearly. Now I am looking forward to reading the book!
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Ewen Coleman (The Dominion Post);
|Sylvia Bagnall||posted 14 Mar 2013, 10:15 PM|
Lovely writing - keep this reviewer on!