R&R: The Arrival
R&R: The Arrival
Walking into a theatre on opening night is a unique experience. There is always a special buzz, an excitement, a sense of anticipation and a touch of fear, both from the audience and the players. I lowered myself into my chair and as the audience filed in, my eyes became fixed on the stage, where a city stood. Stark, beautiful, expressive. Waiting.
I had read the basic storyline - the flight of a man from his home country to a new land, how he experiences strange animals, people, food and ways of life. What I hadn’t expected was how powerful a piece of theatre can be with next to no spoken word. The grace of movement and sharp articulation of experience that was expressed by the company blew me away. A long, testing voyage across the sea, from a frightening city filled with dark ghosts to a world of birds and strange animals, was so beautifully detailed by the chorus that I felt a lump in the back of my throat in the first ten minutes.
To try and trap the world that Red Leap creates and put it into word is impossible. It is something that must be experienced first hand. I can, however, tell you how spellbinding their use of puppetry and set is. The set is an entity in itself. A character that fills the whole stage. It is constantly moving, fluid and seamless in its transformations from city, to boat, to flight machine, from a war torn country to a tiny room in a bustling metropolis, from a factory floor to field of strange plants. And the animals that inhabit this foreign land, oh my. These creatures! I wanted to pocket them all and take them home. Their unique characterisation, their interaction was delightful! It was as if someone had plucked the most fascinating and bizarre creations from my mind and brought them to life, moulded them, loved them into existence.
I cannot express enough how elegant, touching and thought provoking The Arrival is. The quality of performance is astounding and the commitment and energy radiating from the stage had me grinning with pride to be present at such a performance. I cried and laughed and felt the hair on the back of my neck stand with fear. There is nothing more magical that being immersed in another world, and believing, for one breathtaking moment, that you are truly there.
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