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by Paula Towers
posted 23/01/2020

Review: Air Play

Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney, 21-25 January

Reviewed by Paula Towers

Giant balloons float above the audience while long lengths of sheer fabric appear to dance with a life of their own in Air Play, a 2020 Sydney Festival offer.

Charmingly described as a “visual poem”, this show is a beguiling and fun blend of family-friendly comedy, circus and theatre.

Created by American silent comedy duo Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone in collaboration with kinetic sculptor Daniel Wurtzel, the performance sees them appear to deftly turn confetti into stars and  send umbrellas flying through the air prompted by strategically placed electric fans, though that hardly explains the illusion.

Most crowd pleasing was the deconstructed snow globe – the contents flying in a circle the height of the stage as well as the giant balloon games, delighting the littlies including a young boy nearby whose father had placed him on his shoulders so he could just reach to tap the enormous red sphere to float it forward.

And when the duo seemed to be veritably swallowed by the huge shapes, they were greeted by excited laughter as well as sheer wonder, appearing to be cartoon-like, balloon people, when miming various operas and dancing within them.

Apparently the artists – “Acrobuffos” are a husband and wife who met at a circus in Afghanistan, married at a clown festival in China, and have performed their unique brand of visual comedy in 28 countries. It’s also no surprise that Wurtzel’s work has featured on Broadway, in Cirque du Soleil and in museums around the world.

Air Play’s delightful imaginative displays are highly recommended for children – and big kids who appreciate awesome visual magic.

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