‘SkyClimb’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by September 21, 2015

‘SkyClimb’ is a Curtin University, 2015 honours students’ project under the mentorship of theatre-maker, Ellis Pearson.

This one hour, interesting piece can be seen at The Curtin Stadium Dome, Dumas Road, Curtin University in Bentley, on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7.00 until 27th September. The parking in the multi-storey car park, next to the silver dome, is free after 5.00 pm.

 

The set is an empty floor with a few props.

The production manager carried two voting boxes to the centre of the stage area, and counted voting tokens that were to decide which of two endings the cast should perform.

       A cello plays soft restful music, as the actors, dressed in cream muslin and cotton, chant in a strange language.

      The five actors roll on the floor trying to stand; they are newly born birds (?) trying to walk. The frustration is palpable. Some find it easy, but there is always one struggler (Amy Johnston), and one runt of the litter (Aaron Smith) who through jealousy is determined to create havoc. He even attacks one of his siblings (Rachel Foucar) who is nurtured back to health by her sister (Angela Donlan).

      We watch as the group learn to fend for themselves and eventually fly.

 

The poster said ‘7 pm sharp’. On arrival there were no programmes, they had been forgotten to be picked up. As I paid for the tickets, the production manager said to the box office cashier, ‘We will start late to give latecomers a chance to get here’. The audience sat in the cold, unheated venue for 15 minutes waiting – there were no latecomers. Meanwhile the scantily dressed actors were continuing their warm up routine – simply to keep physically warm.

With my ticket, I was handed a plastic token with which to vote; good idea, but although I saw the voting box I had no idea that I had to vote on entering. I wrongly presumed this was for voting after having seen the show.

The production manager announced at the beginning of the play, ‘as you will have gathered the story line from your friends or relatives, we have had a vote to determine tonight’s ending’. Sorry, but I did not have anyone tell me the story in advance, or what the voting was about.

On the positive side, the cast were magnificent, they worked tirelessly. The choreography and athletic action clearly explained what was happening within the story. The clever acting plainly showed frustration, love, sibling rivalry, helping others, the challenges of life and many other aspects of the Icarus story.

The show would benefit from a 25% reduction in the performance time, by trimming each scene or action.

Three people that I have spoken to came close to walking out – because of the cold – but stayed on to support this enthusiastic team. One person thought the action was demonstrating the development of language. Whatever you interpret the storyline as being, you have to admire the cast’s labours.