She Would Walk the Sky combines circus, live music and the prose of playwright Finegan Kruckmeyer. It is a theatrical piece specially commissioned by the Brisbane Powerhouse and is one of their many inspiring performances playing as part of the World Theatre Festival. Directed by Chelsea McGuffin, this dreamlike flight of fancy, framed within the brick and metal once industrial space of the Powerhouse, is sure to delight.
It is a romantic and sometimes dark journey of winged creatures, sea voyages, crumbling civilizations, hope, loss and dreams. The show opens while one of the performers is feathering her nest and scribbling notes, she sits aloft in the scaffolding. She descends to the soundtrack of Kruckmeyer’s prose. Another performer with a white wing-like fan in her hand emerges and carefully inches her way across the stage on a tightrope. A man stands holding a candelabra to light another man who is sitting on a tiny stool playing a tiny piano, a faint tap of a drum ticks along and other stringed instruments lightly hum. This odd collective, wearing their chic yet classically styled circus costumes (circa 1930’s), look like they have a story to tell. It’s as though they have stepped out of a grainy black and white silent film ready to divulge their secrets, however, the way they’ll tell you those secrets will be via their language, the language of physical poetry, musical musing and prose.
The energy of the performers from Company 2 was fun, edgy and infectious. Their risk was intimately palpable in the glorious confines of the Powerhouse. A centrifugal bike whizzed by only a few meters away from the audience, the rider’s focus sharp as he held steady to act as the ever strong base for two or three of the ensemble members to jump on and off the bike arranging themselves in various balances. The live music heightened the atmosphere brilliantly and meshed symbiotically with the range of circus repertoire that was well paced and wonderfully choreographed into a breathtaking array of stunning visual scenes. There were times when the prose didn’t grab, didn’t fully gel with the visual action and there were a few lulls in the action in-between scenes. The prose didn’t arrest or command attention in the same way many of the stage pictures did. One such instance was the evocative use of tightrope work where bodies where hanging and counter balancing, like an assortment of human washing clinging and sitting at all angles on a clothes line. One solid theme to weave through the whimsical visuals to line up somehow more acutely in an aural sense may have helped the viewer latch onto more of the narrative that did exist so wonderfully in much of Kruckmeyer’s script.
She Would Walk the Sky is visually engaging, graceful and frenetic theatre that blends the best of circus, music and prose. It will draw you in as you stare in wonder at Company 2 as they use the interesting confines of the Powerhouse’s Turbine Platform. It is sure to be remembered as one of the homegrown highlights of the World Theatre Festival 2014.
Brisbane Powerhouse presents
She Would Walk The Sky
Directed by Chelsea McGuffin
Venue: Turbine Platform | Brisbane Powerhouse
Dates: 14 – 23 February, 2014
Tickets: $45 – $30
Part of WTF 2014