Inspired by the vaulted halls of the Brisbane Powerhouse, She Would Walk the Sky draws the audience into a world of magic.
A strongman, an aging bellboy, graceful women and muscular men, musicians in fading splendour: this unusual group has an important task. They keep time, they make gravity work. Their lives are harmonious, until a search for lost love disrupts the rhythm.
Inspired by the vaulted halls of the Brisbane Powerhouse, She Would Walk the Sky weaves a spell around the audience, drawing them into a world of magic. The simple story is told through the poetic words of internationally renowned Australian playwright, Finegan Kruckemeyer, and overlayed with enchanting live music. But the heart of the performance is the physical feats of the circus performers, who provide spectacle and metaphor to illustrate the tale.
The unique attributes of this performance space are used in an unusual way; we are seated on what is normally the stage area. Industrial fixtures become part of the performance space: ropes hang from thick steel girders, and the encompassing fence holds bells and bicycles. Even in a relatively sparse set, with space for physical performance, the surroundings are rich in interest.
As the audience is seated, a performer perches in a steel cage above us. Most of the audience seem unaware of her antics, as she writes with a quill, crunches the paper and climbs the walls impatiently.
She Would Walk the Sky is, at times, a mesmerising performance and the professionalism of those on stage help any glitches blend into the act. On this night, a trick goes awry which brings us out of the magic until the performer indicates he is ok, and we are quickly drawn back into the world of the surreal. It comes together almost seamlessly, with even the equipment changes choreographed into an intricate dance.
While these talented performers demonstrate their skills at wire-walking, aerial, group bike, acrobatics and other breathtaking feats, the audience is unsure whether to applaud or allow themselves to be caught up by the story.
Through the course of the performance, there are a few moments where the story is drowned out by the music, or where glitches with our narrator’s headset mic undermine the sound quality. While the story is simple to follow, there are some key elements that help it make more sense, which can be difficult to hear. What a shame it would be to miss this striking text, and the humour that the narrator brings to the piece.
The show is advertised at 60 minutes but the running time is closer to 80 minutes, so plan accordingly. However, you’re unlikely to mind the extra time because, like the best dreams, you don’t want to wake up.
She Would Walk the Sky is a beautiful and engaging performance.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
She Would Walk the Sky
Produced by Company 2
Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer
Directed by Chelsea McGuffin
Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse
World Theatre Festival