Writers and Creators Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone Performers Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, Kinetic Sculptor Daniel Wurtzel. Director West Hyler. Technical Director Todd Alan Little. Stage Manager Flora Vassar Lighting Design Jeanne Koenig. Costumes Ashley Dunn Gatterdam, Sound Design Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone. Additional Sound Design Phil Ingle. Props Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone. Representation Boat Rocker Entertainment and Aurora Nova. Festival Theatre. Adelaide Festival Centre. Afdelaide Festival. March 15-19 2023
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Red and yellow material billow in a dance of aerial grace and beauty. A circle of fans propel the material high into the air as two figures sit in wonder at this magical display of colour and floatation. Writers and creators Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone have conjured a wonderland of billowing material, floating on high and reaching out over the audience who gaze in wonder at the red and yellow pas de deux before their enchanted eyes
Whimsy and wistfulness sway and swirl to the changing soundtracks from the middle eastern sounds of mystery to the jubilant rhythms of South America or the gentle soothing notes of Sarti, suddenly interrupted by the stirring tenor aria from Turandot before enveloping Bloom in material to Psycho. Yet through it all hope remains in Somewhere Over the Rainbow and in a breathtaking display of a snowfall there is a joi d’vivre that fills the air with the delicate snowflakes and sparkling glitter. Acrobuffos Bloom and Gelsone bring charm and innocent clowning comedy to their performance. They play out the free spirit of the child at play, competing with their red and yellow balloon, arguing over their possessive wills and reconciling in a show of sibling affection as the glitter explodes from a balloon and fills the air.
Bloom and Gelsone delight in the clownish antics, climbing over the audience to retrieve a balloon or climbing inside a balloon to create a comedy routine that had the audience in fits of laughter. Bloom plays the petulant boy clown, Gelstone the comical, cleverer clown, quick to outwit her less bright brother. Their clowning exudes a certain charm and child-like appeal that had the audience in fits of laughter. The lady behind me laughed hysterically and the sound of children’s laughter rang with delight.
Airplay is a family show that recalls the wonder of childhood as a host of small red balloons rise to the flys encircling a large yellow balloon. The visual effect is wonderful and Bloom and Gelsone, costumed in yellow and red release a magical array of balloons, umbrellas, glitter and cascading “snow”
Airplay is an interactive work and Bloom and Gelsone involve the audience in the bouncing balloon routine and two members of the audience are brought on stage to ca pture the small floating balloons in the butterfly nets much to the hilarity of the audience. The audience participation is too drawn out as members of the audience reach to push the balloon away from Gelsone’s outstretched hand. The comedy works at the outset but then begins to wear thin as it is obvious that the balloon routine has outworn its purpose. I was waiting for more magic to fill the stage with wonder. Gelsone and Bloom have created a show that is magical in its concept and glorious in its visual delight. All shows need to develop and change their material over time. Audience participation is ordinarily used to keep an audience involved. In a show as visually striking as Airplay, it is the art that mesmerizes. The billowing material above the audience holds the audiemce in thrall. Perhaps it is the magic of the show that is the most captivating of any audience participation.
Airplay runs for just under an hour, an ideal length for a show that advertises for audiences 5 years and over, Original in concept, colourful in design and often magical in its visual production Airplay proved a real crowdpleaser on Opening Night.
Photos by Florence Montmare