Better than watching Olympic gymnasts
With A Stranger. By Dust Palace Theatre Royal, Tuesday July 22 Reviewed by
If I had the choice between tickets for the Olympic gymnastics or a performance by Dust Palace, this show proved there is no contest. With A Stranger was an outstanding display of sublime gymnastic and body artistry, where every movement, no matter how small, was a piece de resistance.
The mixture of hand balancing moves with aerial silk and hoop made for a rich variety of circus virtuosity that rarely lets up. The theme of a man in a lost property department of the world where strangers randomly change each other's lives is a clever unifying device, allowing the performance to flow from one spectacular feat to another. The show had a French feel with its inclusion of mime, characterisation, intriguing variety of music and subtle lighting. There were also glimpses of Charlie Chaplin, particularly in the sequence where co-director Mike Edward attempts to climb a silk rope that keeps descending.
The duet by fellow directors Edward and Eve Gordon was riveting, an example of strength, counter balance and athleticism that almost defied belief.
Another showstopper was Rochelle Mangon in the hanging hoop.
The contortions and physical prowess she displayed were heartstopping. In a later piece she was thrown like a rag doll repeatedly between the other performers, bringing the audience to the edges of their seats.
Geoff Gilson, Ed Clendon and Adrian Smith were equally outstanding in their own right and provided many glorious moments.
With A Stranger is so much more than an artful display of athleticism and gymnastics.
It is a theatrical masterpiece full of diversity, humour, sensitivity, intimacy and danger, along with perfect attention to detail that allows it to flow magnificently from beginning to end.
New Zealand is very fortunate to have such a dedicated team of passionate artistes in this genre.
There are still tickets to tonight's show at 7.30. Book tickets online at nelsonwinterfestival.co.nz or at the Nelson School of Music in Collingwood St.
The Nelson Mail