Air Time - Branch Nebula (NSW)
Merrigong Theatre Company presents a Branch Nebula production.
Review in collaboration with Pario Magazine.
Reviewed by Jamie at Pario Magazine
Wollongong Town Hall, Wollongong
20th - 22nd April, 2023
- Air Time is its own unique blend which makes it hard to describe without witnessing it for yourself -
Created by Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters from Branch Nebula, Air Time absolutely pushes the boundaries of what we consider performance. Is it theatre? Is it dance? Is it competitive sport? The answer is honestly, it's not really any of these individually. Air Time is its own unique blend which makes it hard to describe without witnessing it for yourself.
At the core of the show is street sports culture with skateboarding, BMX, roller skating & parkour all showcased throughout the show. Alongside these elements, Air Time also weaves in theatrical elements and interpretive dance. All to a pulsating electronic music score built throughout the performance using loops, delays and reverbs from the naturally occurring noises of the performers hitting the ramps which make up the stage.
Images by Johnny Chaing
Alongside these physical elements, the lighting by Fausto Brusamolino and the musical accompaniment by Phil Downing helps give Air Time a hypnotising quality. The pulsating beats increase in tempo as the performance's excitement, thrill and danger increase, which is further heightened by Brusamolino's electronic music festival-sequel lighting.
Whilst there is no narrative thread running throughout the show there are clearly defined sections which each convey their own meanings.
The seed that grew into what Air Time is now was obviously the push and pull between theatrical performance and street performance. This is highlighted most clearly in one particular segment which sees the six performers breaking down into smaller pairings or trios and having small 'dance-offs' or 'battles' where they each attempt to one-up their counterparts by doing bigger, flashier and more complex tricks.
Each of the six performers showcased during the world premiere were fantastically skilled. Especially impressive were the performances by Nakula Boag (Skateboard) and Jakeb Dugdell (BMX) after they were added late due to injuries. Tia Pitman (Roller skates) was also outstanding, particularly with her closing manoeuvre.
Air Time is certainly not going to be for everyone. Traditional theatre lovers may not enjoy the lack of narrative where as lovers of street sports may be put off by the interpretive dance elements. However, if you can go into the show with an open and accepting mind you will be rewarded with a truly astonishing closing number.
Fusing dance, theatre, electronic music and extreme sports Air Time creates a riveting show unlike any other to take place within Wollongong Town Hall.
Until April 22. Wollongong Town Hall, Cnr Crown & Kembla St, Wollongong. $44-$59+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.merrigong.com.au
Check out more of our reviews & features over on www.pariomagazine.com.au
Co-Creator Lee Wilson
Co-Creator Mirabelle Wouters
Producer Jennifer Greer Holmes
Composer / Sound Designer Phil Downing
Contributing Composer Lucy Phelan
Lighting Designer Fausto Brusamolino
Consultant Choreographer Marnie Palomares
Production Manager & Special Effects Designer Alejandro Rolandi
Stage Manager Madelaine Osborn
Performer/Dancer Cloé Fournier
Replacement Performer/BMXer Jakeb Dugdell
Replacement Performer/Skateboarder Nakula Boag
Performer/Dancer Feras Shaheen
Performer/Roller-skater Tia Pitman
Performer/Parkour /Free-runner Tristan Hodder
Set Builder Peter Crome