OzAsia Festival: Dream Of The Ghost Story

Dream Of The Ghost Story. Image supplied
Dream Of The Ghost Story. Image supplied

The programme says “be captured by a sense of wonder” and I was, totally and so much more. From the award-winning Shandong Acrobatic Troupe, this show is based on a classic Qing Dynasty fable about the love between a human man and fox spirit.

Projected words (albeit a tad hard to read) lead us into the story in both the first and second acts; but we can do without the words for the breathtaking performances (by more than fifty people on stage, children and young adults) keep us linked into the fascinating narrative which holds its own within this epic and spectacular presentation. It’s about good versus evil, the sinister with the heavenly and the enduring power of love. It’s beautifully executed and so very striking.

I have never seen a show quite like this before (and I’m not too sure if I ever will, again). Have I been missing something? It’s difficult to know where to start (and stop) with this review, for there is so much happening all of the time in this exquisite theatrical acrobatic and dance, circus type blend – that just when you think you have a handle on the style it throws another amazing human physical feat merged with a deeply emotional moment out to the audience, who all (child or adult) delight in every second of it.

[pull_left]The program says “be captured by a sense of wonder” and I was, totally and so much more[/pull_left]

Performers jumping through moving hoops at gunfire speed, twisting and contorting from hanging ropes and juggling like you have never seen before! Extraordinary acrobatics, artists with immense skill throwing and stacking themselves in almost impossible to believe human constructions, wheels and drums, skipping rope sequences, hoops and whips and a contortionist, who is just unbelievable, operating from one arm on a ball. . . how can she do those things?

I have never seen such precision, strength and sheer beauty. It’s mesmerising, meditative and magical. It’s almost other worldly. This brilliant team do such inconceivable things with their bodies that it somehow makes one proud to be part of our species. I want to see it again, and again!

And what makes this show standout from being (just) a well done acrobatic circus type ride is the beautiful direction and choreography of the contemporary dance (and lovely acting) moments. It draws you in and captivates. With a terrific soundtrack the moods of this show slide wonderfully along the performance range scale – one moment a torrent of bodies doing more and more things that blow you away then becoming two actor dancers on a stage playing out the love and drama of this gorgeously delivered piece; then bang – it’s is all about awe-inspiring physical circus again.

If you haven’t guessed I was completely and utterly swept away. Anyone would be! What a great show and a great start to OzAsia. If ever you get a chance, see this!

Stephen House

Stephen is a writer with numerous plays, exhibitions and short films produced. He has been commissioned often and directs and performs his work. He has won two AWGIE Awards from The Australian Writers Guild and an Adelaide Fringe Award (as well as more), and has received several international literature residencies. Stephen has been Artistic Director of many events. He has been performing his acclaimed solo show, “Appalling Behaviour” nationally from 2010 – 2014 (100 shows to date). Stephen has 2 new works in development.

Stephen House

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