|Christina Gelsone and Seth Bloom in "Air Play"
Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre. 24th – 26th February
on 25th February reviewed by Bill Stephens
This is one
of those one-off magical shows that you really do need to experience for
yourself to appreciate.
collaboration with sculptor Daniel Wurtsel, and performed by New York based husband
and wife duo, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, “Air Play” has been touring
internationally since 2015, and been seen by an estimated audience of 150,000
creating “Air Play”, Bloom had been a juggler and Gelsone a ballerina. Both had
trained extensively in clowning before they met in a circus in Afghanistan.
They became engaged while street performing in Scotland and married in China.
they decided to pool their talents and form a professional partnership in 2005,
and quickly gained a reputation for creating original work that challenges
genres and mines big laughs without words.
is their seventh creation and their clowning skills are put to good use in this
mesmerising show which utilises balloons, umbrellas, kites and the cleverly
harnessed power of wind to create a continuous stream of ravishing images.
audience is quickly seduced into taking sides in the playful onstage battle of
the sexes, as each tries to outdo the other in inventing clever and inventive
ways to play with, or even wear, balloons.
just one or two large red and yellow balloons, which float mesmerizingly high
above the stage. Acres of shiny silk float right out over the heads of the captivated
audience into the auditorium before suddenly curling back on to the stage to form
huge airborne sculptures.
At one point a team of bright yellow balloons is tethered to the stage and manipulated like airborne piano keys. Later a huge army of baby red balloons are released to swirl above the stage then showered with glitter to create the biggest and most splendid evocation of a snow dome imaginable.
of music is integral to the success of the show. The ominous opening bars of
Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” heralds a storm of umbrellas. A sublime version of Eric
Sartie’s “Gymnopedies” blisses the audience as silks float dreamily overhead.
Sonny Bono’s “Bang Bang” alerts the audience to an explosive big red balloon.
moments are punctuated by hearty laughs throughout this clever show in which
clever clowning and highly polished physical skills masks the complexities
involved in performing this magical show intent on ensuring that its audience will
leave the theatre floating on air.
|Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone in "Air Play"
This review also published in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW. www.artsreview.com.au