Photo – Jamie Breen
Theatre makers have much in common with children at play. Both delight in using minimal props in a small contained space to transport themselves into a completely different scenario that is often another world away. You can imagine the careers of countless thespians beginning quite innocently with a teddy bears’ picnic. Falling Through Clouds is like walking in on children making a pretend movie. It is even framed by opening credits.
Of course the puppetry and props on display here are far more sophisticated than what you’d find in your average children’s toy box. Puppetry, video projection and birds with paper bills are used to tell the story of ornithologist Mary Miller. Mary has loved birds since childhood and one day has the chance to bring a species of bird back into existence starting with two eggs.
The birds grow into two of the cutest characters seen on a Sydney stage for quite some time. These creatures resemble a cross between dodos and pelicans though I’m not suggesting for a minute there was any questionable breeding methods involved in their creation. Trouble is this cutesiness is overplayed with Mary engaging in much stroking of bills.
Failing Through Clouds is from the people that brought us past Sydney Festival shows The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik Deep Sea Explorer (2011) and Its Dark Outside (2013). Both shows also included puppetry and multi-media. I prefer Its Dark Outside which feature some thought provoking discussions about old age along with the cute and playful puppetry. The story of Falling Through Clouds feels a little light in comparison.
There is no doubt that this is a show that revels in it’s simplicity, so it feels out of place to be too analytical or critical, almost like shooting a rare bird perhaps. It would be hard to walk out of this show without a smile on your face as indicated from the warm applause by the opening night audience.
The Last Great Hunt presents
Falling Through Clouds
Creators Adriane Daff, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs and Tim Watts
Venue: York Theatre | Seymour Centre, Corner City Road and Cleveland Street, Chippendale NSW
Dates: 16 – 18 January 2015
Bookings: 02 9351 7940
Part of the 2015 Sydney Festival