Director: West Hyler
Reviewer: Jay Nuttall
For anyone who became entranced with the plastic bag blowing in the wind in Alan Ball’s American Beauty or did not want to leave the theatre at the end of Slava’s Snow Show as you were having too much fun playing with enormous inflatable balls, then Air Play is the show for you.
Conceived by American husband and wife clowning team Acrobuffos, it is asixty-minutee joyous release. Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone have made a show that makes you feel like you are floating above your seat and as light as air. Their principle is simple as every good clowning show is – play. Their show uses an army of electric fans to manipulate materials, balloons and umbrellas high into the air and make them dance.
Air Play can be enjoyed by any age and is a wonderful family experience. Gasps of awe and wonder spread as giant silks flow above the auditorium, lit beautifully, and created by ‘air sculptor’ Daniel Wurtzel. The first image of a rising flame ignites the show and from then on ‘Mr Red’ and ‘Mrs Yellow’ create image after image: a storm using umbrellas, a galaxy using balloons and glitter, a snowstorm and, to finish, a gigantic hot air balloon like creation that simply gets packed away again back into a suitcase. At times the visual imagery is breathtaking as the performers either manipulate the objects a little to make them behave or let them dance above their heads.
As clowns Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone make the whole show look effortless. They know when to let the audience sit in awe and take in the wonder and they know when the show needs some audience interaction. There are plenty of laughs as helium filled balloons are toyed with and one of the highlights of the show is when they even disappear into huge balloons, with only their heads protruding, to perform an operatic Pavarotti inspired routine.
Adults in the audience are welcome to search for deeper meaning in their work as there are layers and layers visual poetry but the beauty of this piece is just to enjoy the play: the play of the air on the objects, the performers with each other and with the audience. Never in my life have I wanted so much to get up on stage and be allowed to play too.
No wonder this show tours around the world.
Reviewed at The Lowry on January 19, 2018 | Image: Florence Montmare