Shadow Dreams

Review by Gai Anderson

Terrapin Puppet Theatre and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Seen as part of Ten Days on the Island Festival, 2013.
The Recital Hall, Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music, Hobart .

Theatre at its best is transportative – it takes you to places outside your self – where you suspend your disbelief and begin to take part in the alchemy that is happening before you on stage.

Some time its the trickery and spectacle that does this, sometimes it’s the quirky humor, the depth of story, the uplifting beauty of the music, the emotional life of the characters, the simplicity and wisdom of the message. But sometimes you are privileged enough to witness a show that does all those things and more.

Shadow Dreams is a technical and artistic triumph by any standards – a superbly crafted, simple, heart-felt story, beautifully told, of two boys who begin to dream each other’s dreams. It is a colaboration between Terrapin Puppet Theatre and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, performing the very beautiful uplifting music of Graeme Koehn live.

The show is staged simultaneously in two theatres at the two ends of the state using broadband to stream the live orchestra and vision.

So on the stage in Hobart I could see a screen divided in half, before which the story of Peter, a suburban white boy living with his Mum and gran is enacted live.

On the other half of the screen is the Aboriginal boy Dale with his father and sister in their house on a farm near Launceston. This was a projection streaming live from the Launceston stage, where they were performing.

But that’s not all, the trickery went much further than this as layers of animation, detailed landscape captured in stunning painted backdrops and atmospheric shadow puppetry and other live puppetry elements were layered to continuously transform the visual story with incredible beauty.

There was an awful lot going on on-stage sometimes, which may have been easier to take in in a larger theatre. But that didn’t stop me from being totally engaged from start to finish with the beauty and significance of the story.

The boys themselves were a delight, played by actors Kai Resbeck and first time Aboriginal performer Nathan Maynard. As we watched their days at school and at home we met two funny characters with the quirky details of their lives, and where they live, of Bridgewater Jerry, Seven Mile Beach and Dove lake.

But this story is not just about the boys – it’s a story about the wisdom of the generations who have been here before and the shared dreaming for a communal future. For what they dream together is not just any story, but the Palawa story of the creation of Tasmania and its sacred landscapes.

Eventually it led them to each other when they met with the families at Dove Lake, and amongst the elders and the wisdom of culture, they ran and laughed together, dreaming of that communal future.

This is a very important story; a moment of reconciliation, albeit on stage. It is certainly the first time I have seen the reenactment of the Palawa story in such a public forum and it brought a tear to my eyes. Let’s hope every Tasmanian gets to see this show in all its heart felt beauty.

Thanks to the generosity of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community, to the ever inspiring talents of Frank Newman and Finegan Kruckemeyer and to the huge caste and crew of Terrapin who worked together to make this incredible show happen.

Luminous Flux

Review by Wendy Newton

Earl Arts Centre
Ten Days on the Island


It’s not a very lyrical word and it certainly doesn’t testify to any level of sophistication in reviewing dance, but I couldn’t stop saying it after watching Tasdance’s performance of Luminous Flux as part of Ten Days on the Island.


Luminous Flux is a diptych in contemporary dance with two exceptional works by choreographers Tanja Liedtke and Byron Perry that play with the abstract and physical territory of light. Both show what can be done with a small black stage, some basic lighting and minimal costuming when the artistic and choreographic vision is strong and the dance talent extreme.

Enter Twilight by Tanja Liedtke might be a remount from Tasdance’s 2004 season Light and Shade, but the performance by Sarah Fiddaman, Brianna Kell, Jenni Large and Timothy Walsh is fresh and as brilliant as the lights they perform with. In a world that is so often ‘black and white’, Liedtke’s work explores the ambiguity and tension between the opposites: of light and dark, of good and evil. Is the dark an absence of light, or a creature all of its own making?

Read the rest of this review, and other reviews including Murder, The Select (the Sun also Rises ), As We Forgive and Shadow Dreams on the Write Response website HERE:


Review by Gai Anderson

Erth Visual & Physical Inc.
Hobarts Playhouse Theatre
As part of Ten Days on the Island 2013

…But at some point MURDER lost its way, and no matter how many clever visual ideas or glimpses of incredible puppets and puppetry are seen, they inevitably become a distraction as the thrust of story lost its focus and power. Even the Murder ballads disappeared mysteriously until a quick reprise at the very end.

MURDER promised so much.Our human relationship to death in all its forms is really important and rich and I felt really cheated by the dribbling away of the great momentum and profound investigation it had developed…

Read the rest of this review, and other reviews including Murder, The Select (the Sun also Rises ), As We Forgive and Shadow Dreams on the Write Response website HERE: