Theatre Review: Dreams of a Lonely Planet

A combination of contemporary dance, shadow puppetry, and physical comedy with a surreal storyline in this visual all-ages treat. 

Created by Estelle Brown and Izzy Leclezio, Dreams of a Lonely Planet follows a dynamic trio through an astronomical imaginary world. Minimal narration accompanies contemporary dance and visual storytelling. Yvan Karlsson’s charming shadow puppets bring to life the stage’s drama on a wider – albeit smaller – monochromatic shadow scale, colourfully complemented by Nikita Bernado’s costume and set design.

Music and movement are intrinsically synergistic, with Sophia Hansen-Knarhoi’s artful sound composition also complementing the actors’ performances. The dreamlike plot is somewhat abstract, but its execution is aesthetically appealing enough to keep the audience riveted throughout. 

Audience entry to the studio is edged with fairy lights, fabric, cotton wool clouds; typical of the Blue Room Theatre’s attention to aesthetic immersion. The set itself is somewhat sparse – but utterly magical – painted with planets, stars, nebulas and glitter. A large triangular frame rests on wool clouds in the far corner, creating a screen across which shadow puppets dance against torchlight amid emotive actor movement.

Estelle Brown (Moral Compass), Izzy Leclezio (Boy), and Isobelle Collie (Lamplighter) perfectly embody their distinct characters with childlike energy and enthralling expression. Their makeup and costumes are vibrant and dramatic without being needlessly tacky. 

Highlights include Izzy Leclezio’s masterful movements, Isobelle Collie’s sniffing of sweat infused handkerchiefs, and Estelle Brown’s sweet-yet-haunting rendition of ‘Tonight you Belong to Me’ performed at great heights while wrapped in a sheet. Audience appreciation for visual gags and humour-infused movement is almost guaranteed, regardless of demographic, although a predominantly adult audience might laugh less audibly than a group of six-to-ten year olds. 

Reprised as part of Perth’s AWESOME Festival, Dreams of a Lonely Planet traces a path through the stars. Towards the end one begins to suspect this is not, in fact, a playful space-themed children’s dance performance, but a metaphor for infatuation, heartbreak, loss, and letting go.

Read: Book review: Wildflowers, Peggy Frew

Dreams of a Lonely Planet will appeal to solitary space travellers, cape-wearing parents, and children aged five and above. 

Dreams of a Lonely Planet by Flying Bicycle Collective
Blue Room Theatre, Perth, WA
Performers: Estelle Brown, Izzy Leclezio, Isobelle Collie
Director: Yvan Karlsson
Producer: Ellen-Hope Thomson
Sound Composition: Sophia Hansen-Knarhoi
Costume and Set design: Nikita Bernardo
Lighting design: Peter Young
Stage Manager: Holly Ballam

Tickets $19-$24

Dreams of a Lonely Planet will be performed until 1 October 2022.

Nanci Nott is a nerdy creative with particular passions for philosophy and the arts. She has completed a BA in Philosophy, and postgraduate studies in digital and social media. Nanci is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Writing, and is working on a variety of projects ranging from novels to video games. Nanci loves reviewing books, exhibitions, and performances for ArtsHub, and is creative director at Defy Reality Entertainment.