Sean Burnett Dugdale-Martin
Originally commissioned to be part of “Highlight - Carnival of Lights” in 2018, it was performed outside, nestled in a dark corner of Riddiford Gardens in Lower Hutt. Since then the piece has gone on to gather huge crowds at the World Buskers’ Festival in 2019 and 2020 and comes out of a two-year hiatus for shows in Wellington, Taupo, Hawke’s Bay, Tauranga, and Carterton. The years of talent and effort behind this show shine in this season and I hope the team has every confidence that, despite two years of lockdowns and performing the piece inside this time, they can still bring their awesome dreamscape to life.
For shows conscious of the school holidays it’s important to provide something for both young and old audiences so they can capitalise on families taking the time to get out of the house. Especially every chance we get to leave the house. Being non-verbal and about something as universal as dreams, the show is incredibly accessible. Stone and Cordery are both incredibly talented aerialists and have routines of stunning speed as well as moments of tender movement, dancing up and down the height of the theatre. This kind of circus is a dance of great skill and it will always be a pleasure to watch.
The audience interaction is done with care and heart. I won’t give away what games are played during the audience interaction section but I will say that when I was learning to clown a seasoned street performer once told me that “If you get a kid up, and you treat them well, you’ve won.” and the team at Colossal have enough experience behind them to know how to treat anybody well! The audience interaction was done respectively, gently, and if a kid didn’t want to go up then a different kid was asked!
If I were to give feedback to a body of work I know has had years of refinement (and I hope I can offer some food for thought the team has not already chewed on), I would encourage the team to think of ways that they could emphasise when audiences should applaud (or show some appreciation). The piece as a whole has a soothing, comfortably low energy (which was great) but it did mean that some impressive aerial routines went unrewarded. Another thing to consider could be instead of having very separate dream sections where Stone and Cordery have to reset the screens between them, discovering a way of having each dream deliberately float into the next, creating a narrative of one long, winding dream, instead of a few separate ones. This could come from colours shifting and combining into different colours, or images over the OHP built upon and layered into new shapes, evoking the kind of dream which changes dramatically but seems logical when it does so… Or is that just me having those dreams…?
Dream Garden is a body of work to tell your friends and family about. Unfortunately, it has wrapped up its Wellington leg of its tour but for the other stops on its journey you can find info here and on the Facebook page.