Image provided by The Blue Room Theatre
By Emma Horak and Abigail Macleod
Wonderfully abstract and immersive, WALK is an amalgam of artistic mediums grounded in a single, hypnotic performance that will leave your jaw rooted to the floor and captivate your imagination long after you exit the theatre space.
The fantasy-like atmosphere is evident even before entering the main performance stage, thanks to the fantastic sculpture and set by Opie Robinson. Within the theatre room’s entrance lies an archway, beautifully adorned with white and fluffy lights that glow a deep shade of blue and are so alluring as to provoke you to reach out and touch them. These clouds are close pressing, a marker of the story to come. Then, there is the main performance space: opening out into a dark, cave-like expanse dotted with artefacts and sculptures (including a knight’s helmet and brightly-coloured wig). Making for an environment that is both uncanny and familiar. Reminiscent of outer space and representative of an environment alien to both performer and onlooker alike; time-specific and timeless. This, as we discover, is the mindscape of Bobby – who must tussle with past ghosts and memory in order to set both their body and mind free.
Applause must be given for the enchanting use of audio and visual mediums, which bring the space and its contents to life. Peter McAvan’s sounds create a scope of wonder and intrigue for the mindscape Bobby inhabits, communicating a flavour of science-fiction that marks the space as simultaneously alien and inviting. In addition, the lighting by Joe Lui (which is often wielded by Bobby) spotlights their arrival and voyage throughout their performance. At times pausing to make them appear trapped in space and time in a shower of gold.
However, the true pièce de résistance lies within Bobby Russell’s powerful performance, warping both body and face in bursts of strong choreography to display a passionate journey through each section of their surroundings. A wordless performance that conveys a much deeper meaning by allowing the audience space to infer and imagine. Bobby is a captivating commander of their space and the audience’s attention. Playfully grappling with each stage piece, they simultaneously guide the viewer through this foreign world as they learn their place and power within it.
The culmination of this piece is a beautiful moment between artist and stage – a bittersweet reunion between Bobby and their truest self. No longer bound in darkness and accompanied by the upbeat rhythm of Kylie Minogue’s I Believe in You, Bobby is dancing for themselves, inviting the audience to relish in the feelings of self-discovery emerging from a hostile, alien darkness. The audience, held in an almost stasis by Bobby’s incredible movements, is allowed to take in that metaphorical ‘held breath’ just as Bobby does.
Both metaphysical and abstract, WALK is a performance sure to delight the senses. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the wonderful Blue Room Theatre located in Perth’s cultural centre, WALK provides a perfect exhibition of its (and wider Perth’s) artistic aptitude. And for those of you who are looking to ramp up the immersion factor- make sure to nab one of the beanbags located at the front of the seating area!
WALK is playing at the Blue Room Theatre until the 30th of July.