Creator/Designer/Director Geoff Cobham. Maker in ResidenceMichelle “Maddog” Delaney. Technical design. Chris Petridis. Creative consultants. Zoe Barry and Daisy Brown.Composer Jason Sweeney. Design/Costume design. Meg Wilson. Design/ build Wendy Todd and Chris Bartlett. Queens’s Theatre. Patch Theatre. Adelaide Festival Feb 25 – March 1. March 3-7 2020.
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Patch’s Artistic Director, award winning Geoff Cobham is renowned for his vast experience as a lighting designer. It is therefore not surprising that as director of a theatre company that specializes in theatre experiences for the very young, Cobham would be unable to resist the temptation to introduce very young children to the wonderment of light. The result is a playground of magic, mystery and wonder, especially created for 3 year olds upwards and everyone who still holds the marvel of incandescence in their hearts. The Lighthouse transports parents and toddlers alike to a world of magical illumination from kaleidoscopic colours to glowing balls, hypnotic laser beams, patterned sequences of rainbow splendour and towering bubbles of streaming light.
Audiences promenade through a variety of rooms, all set up with different and enchanting displays. In one a light empress glides glowing balls of light down her wired skirt for the children below. A two year old bubbling with delight reaches for the coloured ball and gazes mesmerized into its changing world of colour. In another room cloaked servants of light offer reflectors for the next room in which beams of light spot the floor. Circles of light create stepping stones of illuminated rings as child and adult hop happily through the ray of light in a dance to Jason Sweeney’s original compositions.
The Lighthouse is a celebration of the beauty and miracle of light, casting colour across the world and firing the spirit with warmth and energy from the stars above. A storyteller tells a simple tale of the stars, but poor diction blurs its purpose and its text. Cobham’s wonderful concept is underwhelmed by the absence of storytelling. This may well be an experiential reflection, unimpeded by definition, but story is at the very core of wonderment at the stars. Cobham’s installation wonderland captivates children with wonder and adults with spiritual marvel. I would have liked a more engaging connection with the children through the gentle and simple spell of the story. The actors were unintrusive guides, carriers of the miracle of light. They could also have lightened up the children’s experience with story.
Nonetheless, eyes of wonder, squeals of delight and absorbed gazes at the changing display of light are enough to enchant and transport the child within us all to the light that brightens up our world. Patcch Theatre’s unique experience The Lighthouse shines a beam of happiness to lighten the way through the darkness. Young and old moved out into the sunlight with a glow in the heart and a smile on every face.